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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

The 2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference & 11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference drew to a close with resounding success

Under the banner, “We commit to accelerating ocean science solutions for sustainable development!”,  the resolute voice of 1,200 participants resonated throughout the 2nd UN Ocean Decade Conference for the Western Pacific & 11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference, held in Bangkok from  April 22 to 25, 2024.

This significant gathering, orchestrated by the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and hosted by the Government of Thailand, brought together a diverse array of ocean stakeholders from over 40 countries. Together, they presented the latest ocean knowledge, examined the progress of the Ocean Decade Actions over the past three years, outlined future priorities, forged partnerships, and catalyzed concrete actions for transformative ocean-based solutions to sustainability challenges in the region.

The remarkable turnout set a new benchmark in the history of the Sub-Commission. Unfolded with a prestigious opening attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, the Conference featured 25 Scientific Session dedicated to sharing and disseminating the latest knowledge about ocean priority issues in the region, 13 Decade Action Workshops to examine development progress and formulate action plans for endorsed Decade programmes and projects (Decade Actions), and 11 Decade Action Incubators established to  transform ideas into concrete Decade Actions.

Additionally, a Special Forum on the South China Sea,  held in collaboration with UNEP/GEF SCS SAP project, reviewed the project scientific findings and their applications to local management in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand. A Townhall discussion centered on the outcomes of the Barcelona Conference and the Decade Vision 2030, offering insights and actional recommendations to tackle ocean priority issues in the region towards sustainable development. Several side events were arranged on the sidelines of the Conference, showcasing the latest development in ocean science and technology, such as marine ecological ranching and the ocean satellite GOCI-II.

The Outstanding Scientist Awards 2024, presented on 23 April, honored five ocean scientists for their science achievement, and great contribution to international ocean science development and cooperation in the region.

In a bid to ignite youth enthusiasm for ocean science and cooperation, the Conference spotlighted 6 Best Young Scientist Oral and 2 Poster Presentations meticulously selected from a pool of 300 applications.  

The Conference culminated in the issuance of the Early Career and Mid-Career Ocean Professionals  Statement (ECOPs and MCOPs), and the Bangkok Declaration. These collective commitments from all participants aimed at accelerating the development of ocean science solutions, empowering diverse stakeholders as co-architects of ocean stewardship, nurturing ocean leaders through widespread literacy and education, harnessing technical and technological innovations, supporting early career ocean professionals, and advancing international ocean science development and cooperation in the region for a sustainable ocean.

Lastly, the Sub-Commission embraced the invitation from the Government of the Philippines to host the 12th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference and the 3rd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference in 2027.