Charles Norman Ehler is the President of Ocean Visions Consulting. He lives and works in Paris, France, as a marine spatial planning consultant to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and other international and non-governmental organizations. His marine spatial planning work at UNESCO has been supported since 2006 by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Before moving to Paris in 2005, he was a senior executive for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and US Environmental Protection Agency for 32 years. Prior to his US government service he taught regional planning and natural resources management at the University of Michigan, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was the Marine Vice-Chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas from 2000-2005. In 2007 he received an award from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for his work on coastal adaptation and its contribution to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC. He is the author of over 100 publications, including a 2009 UNESCO/IOC guide to marine spatial planning, a 2011 report on Marine Spatial Planning in the Arctic Ocean for the Aspen Institute's Commission on Climate Change in the Arctic, a 2011 report on the future of the UNESCO World Heritage marine program, and a 2012 global review of marine spatial planning for WWF, and most recently a new UNESCO guide to evaluating marine spatial plans.


He and his collaborator Fanny Douvere, now Coordinator of UNESCO's World Heritage Marine Program, have been credited with doing more than anyone to advance the field of marine spatial planning internationally.