Nowadays oceans are threatened by escalating pollution, population and coastal development on land. Global climate change is contributing to sea-level rise, warming and acidification. Marine biodiversity is falling, while occurrences of cyclones and storm surges are rising. Given the profound influence of ocean in human’s lives, it is essential that we understand and are able to predict global and regional ocean conditions and the interaction with the atmosphere, biosphere and land. This knowledge has to be derived from marine scientific research, observations and services.
The Eighth IOC/WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium titled “Ocean Climate and Marine Ecosystems in the Western Pacific” was successfully held to meet this challenges in Busan, Republic of Korea, 28-31 March 2011. More than 500 participants from 20 countries in the Asia and Pacific Region have attended this Symposium.
At the opening, Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director General of UNESCO reviewed the tremendous achievement of IOC in its past fifty years history, and further called on all member states to enhance their political and public awareness on the importance of international collaboration on marein scientific research, observations and capacity building in view of the essiential role of oceans on humans lives and limited capacity of the whole world community to understand and predict the global and regional ocean conditions and its interaction with atmosphere, biosphere and land.
Five keynote speakers were invited to present the latest research development on the global/regional hot issues. Dr. David M. Legler (United States of America) , Dr. Kyung-Ryul Kim (Republic of Korea), Dr. Stephen de Mora (United Kingdom), Dr. Fangli Qiao (China) and Dr. Arnold Gordon (United States of America). Those keynote speeches were designed to provide a clearer global context for the research in the region.
The symposium provided an interdisciplinary platform for marine scientists, local managers from the region to assess and prioritize emerging issues requiring scientific research, and catalyzes international and cross-disciplinary collaboration towards the improvement in the management practices and the decision-making process for the sustainable development of their ocean and coastal resources.
The Symposium features 12 sessions and 8 workshops covering key issues and problems in the region and various efforts made till far to improve the understanding and mitigate the negative impacts through the development of observation, model and analysis.
During the Symposium, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific also presented the IOC 50th Anniversary Certificate to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (Government of Thailand), Professor Dr. Aprilani Soegiarto (Indonesia), Professor Dr. Jilan Su (China), Professor Dr. Keisuke Taira (Japan), Professor Dr. Manuwadi Hungspreugs (Thailand), and Professor Dr. Hyung Tack Huh (Republic of Korea) in recognition and appreciation of their great contribution to the development of IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific. Meanwhile, four young scientists have been selected as the winners for the IOC/WESTPAC Best Young Scientist Award 2011, respectively on oral presentations and Poster which was first established in the history of the Sub-Commission in order to further encourage these young marine scientist to dedicate themselves to marine scientific research, observations.
The next IOC/WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium will be held in Vietnam, 2014 upon the kind invitation of the Government of Vietnam.