The roots of HOME are in the Norwegian supported Continental Shelf Programme (Shelf Programme), which sought to support developing countries in their efforts to delineate the outer limits of their maritime jurisdiction according to Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This support dates back to 1998 when scientists from Norway began to understand the difficulty that many developing States were likely to encounter in their effort to define their extended continental shelf. In response to a United Nations resolution and following consultation with developing States, the Shelf Programme established at GRID-Arendal in 2004. It worked with countries to enhance the technical capacities and competencies needed to complete this critical work. The success of the approach is evidenced by the approximately 64 countries that benefitted from direct training, but above all, by the successful submission by all developing states support by the Programme.
The idea behind a Masters of Science in Holistic Ocean Management and Engagement has been driven by the same sense of purpose as the Shelf Programme: to serve the needs of coastal states by working to increase competencies and capacities of national experts to address the challenges and opportunities of a dynamic ocean space. Many States recognize that lodging their continental shelf submission is only the first step in setting up effective management and governance systems that acknowledge the holistic, multi-dimensional nature and complexity of their ocean space: from legal shelf to precious coasts, securing the future of marine spaces, HOME will establish future ocean leaders that can increase knowledge of their State’s ocean space, monitor activities within that space and support the enforcement of laws and regulations.