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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

UN Ocean Decade Actions

UN 23:

Accelerating Capacity Development Transformation in the Western Pacific

Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) on Marine Science

Why is it important?


Capacity building is essential to the mission of the Ocean Decade which is ‘to catalyze transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean’, as it improves equitable access to data and knowledge, technology, and infrastructure vital to sustainable development, human welfare and delivering the objectives set out in the IOC Capacity Development Strategy.

With the explosive population growth, rapid economic development and significant impact of climate change, the Western Pacific and its adjacent areas are experiencing an unprecedented pressure on the coastal and marine environment and ecosystems. With respect to the challenges this particular region is facing, the Vision for WESTPAC’s capacity development is to envision a future wherein Member States in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions are empowered with effective governance for a healthy ocean, building on strong scientific understanding and systematic observations of the changing climate and ocean ecosystems, which embodies following with concerning on Capacity Building:

  • Development of “IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centres on Marine Science” through the establishment of IOC Regional Training and Research Centres (RTRCs) in national marine research institutes and/or universities, and provision of regular trainings on the specialization focus of these Centres to young scientists mainly from developing nations within and outside the region; 

The RTRC actions contribute to mission of Ocean Decade

"Catalyze ocean science solution to sustainable development" by:

• Empowering and strengthening endogenous capacities, making the most of and building on local resources – people, skills, technologies, institutions – and sharing their practical knowledge and solutions to coastal and marine sustainability.

• Serves as an integral part of the international programme development and implementation, where knowledge, tools, and practices provided by all RTRCs focus on their practical applications.

• Provide trainees with opportunities to work together with senior researchers and relevant stakeholders, and get engaged in the issued-based, solution-oriented development and implementation of the international programmes.

What We Do?

IOC has a long tradition of capacity development coordination and implementation through its Sub-Commissions and Regional Committees. Following up on the IOC Principles and Strategy for Capacity Building (IOC/INF-1211, adopted at the 23rd Session of IOC Assembly, 21–30 June 2005) and its concept of ‘self-directed capacity-building’ that leads to autonomous development cycles, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) established a region specific capacity development program entitled ‘IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) on Marine Science’ at its seventh Intergovernmental Session (IOC/SC-WESTPAC-VII/3s, Sabah, Malaysia, 26-29 May 2008) and endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at its forty-first session of Executive Council (24 June- 1 July 2008, Paris, France).

The RTRC initiative has been part of the IOC Capacity Development Strategy (2015-2021), and also recognized as one best practice in the region for capacity development and transfer of marine technology, as expressed by many Members States at various occasions, such as the WESTPAC Intergovernmental Sessions, IOC governing bodies sessions, and the recent UN Ocean Science Decade Regional Workshop for North Pacific and Western Pacific Marginal Seas (31 July-2 August 2020, Tokyo, Japan).

In the context of the UN Ocean Conference and to assist Member States in achieving the SDG 14: Life below water, IOC proposed RTRC initiative as an voluntary commitment to “Develop research capacity and transfer of marine technology through the UNESCO/IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) on Marine Science in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions in support of the SDG 14.a”.

 Owing to the wide support of Member States in the region, the RTRC network is expanding gradually with more research institutions and universities joining and committed to contributing to capacity development in the region. Up to the year of 2023, six RTRCs have been established with specific focuses and commitments to the Western Pacific and its adjacent areas. 


Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs)

RTRC on Ocean Dynamics and Climate

Host Institute: 
First Institute of Oceanography (FIO), Qingdao, China

11 May 2010

RTRC on Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health

Host Institute:
National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Jakarta, Indonesia

21-23 April 2017

RTRC on Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics

Host institute:
East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

2 April 2019

RTRC on Marine Toxins and Seafood Safety

Host institute:
Institute of Oceanography, Khánh Hòa, Vietnam

2 April 2019

RTRC on Reef Management and Restoration

Host institute:
University of the Philippines, Philippines

2 April 2019

RTRC on Coastal Contaminant Monitoring and Marine Innovation Technology

Host institute:
State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution of the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

4-7 April 2023