International cooperation in marine research is almost as old as marine research itself. With the foundation in 1904 of the Council for the exploration of the sea (ICES) was the first intergovernmental organisation still in existence. In view of the increasing changes to the Earth caused by human activity, the search for solutions through international cooperation is growing. Since the beginning of the 21st century, several international efforts have been initiated to tackle urgent social problems, e.g. Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals and, most recently, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

These efforts are valuable catalysts for marine research to solve problems that require attention in the short term. But there is a continuing need to support marine scientific exploration of the ocean and to resolve methodological issues in the long term. The marine research community co-operates at national, European and international levels to ensure that such international efforts aimed at knowledge creation must be sustained and strengthened to inform decisions on how funding is allocated for ocean knowledge generation versus ocean problem solving. KDM, together with its members, endeavours to continuously expand and strengthen collaborative networks in marine research.

Current cooperation priorities of KDM