Large-scale operational ocean monitoring and forecasting networks, defined in the international programme Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), are needed to implement many global conventions and agreements signed by the EU and its member states, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, Convention on Biodiversity, Framework Convention on Climate Change, Programme of Action for Sustainable Development. GOOS Regional Alliances co-ordinate the efforts of states around the world to implement GOOS. They have different capacities, resources and level of activity, but all seek to establish a global sustained system of observations to predict the state of the marine environment, to fulfil their duties in international agreements and to gain practical benefits for a variety of end-users and for public good. Europe (Burgoos, Mangos) has world leadership. EC RTD projects such as MAMA, PAPA and ARENA support international co-operation for GOOS, and participate in the initial phase of the Global Monitoring of Environment and Security, the European contribution to global monitoring systems. GRAND brings together all the GOOS Regional Alliances (Grass) and is supported by the major international organisations related to GOOS (IOC, JCOMM, I-GOOS). The partnership covers all the oceans on Earth to provide a forum, led by Europe, to harmonise the diverse regional systems within GOOS, while advancing the European contribution to the global system. GRAND will facilitate the dissemination of best practice, technology transfer, development of international co-operation, establishment of observing systems in developing countries, application of results of EU projects to the broader international community active in the Grass. This will help to strengthen the role of the EU on the international stage while contributing to the integration and strengthening of the ERA.