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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Intensifying Operational Oceanography for Improved Services to the Indo-Pacific Society

On 28 November 2013, the Indo-Pacific Ocean Forum on “Charting the Future of Sustained Ocean Observations and Services” ended its two days deliberations in Bangkok with substantial recommendations made to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and countries in the region on intensifying the development of sustained ocean observations and services.

“We cannot manage what we don’t measure” said Dr. Sang-Kyung Byun, Chair of IOC/UNESCO, the competent body within UN system for marine sciences, observations and services. Without systematic and long-term routine measurements of the seas and oceans and atmosphere, and rapid interpretation and dissemination of associated products, it is hardly possible to address the ever-increasing challenges we are faced towards the blue economy, prevention and mitigation of the impact of marine hazards.

“There are a number of social and economic drivers in the region for operational oceanography in light of 70 percent of its population living in the coasts and relying economically on ocean” said Mr Wenxi Zhu, Head & Programme Specialist of WESTPAC Office, Bangkok, “Despite tremendous efforts made over the last decades, our knowledge on the Indo-pacific Ocean, its biodiversity and ecosystems, and its role in climate change and variability still remains low mainly due to the lack of adequate sustained observations, thus it is essential to foster the cooperation and collaboration among marine scientific institutes, academic faculties and/or national operational agencies in the Indo-Pacific region in ocean observations and services”.

Nearly 40 experts from 14 coastal countries in the region, representatives of IOC GOOS Section and GOOS Regional Alliances (NEAR-GOOS, SEAGOOS, IOGOOS and PIGOOS) presented the status of their respective countries or programs, and shared their insight in the development of operational oceanography in the Indo-Pacific region. Distinguished IOC Officers, WESTPAC present and former officers were also invited to contribute their valuable perspective and expectation on WESTPAC to assist countries in the Indo-Pacific region to develop sustained ocean observations and services in view of its achievement in the region.

This Forum was organized by the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), aiming to take stock of the major achievement of WESTPAC in ocean observations and services, build/enhance network among participants, exchange strategic directions of their institutions, identify scientific and technical challenges within IOC mission and mandate, and facilitate future collaboration with a view to furthering operational oceanography for improved services to the Indo-Pacific society.