The Chairman of the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific, Dr Zhanhai Zhang introduced this agenda item by reporting on the Sub-Commission’s efforts to contribute to the IOC’s High Level Objectives over last year since its Seventh Session in Malaysia, 26–29 May 2008. These efforts included: development of a WESTPAC Marine Science Plan; the establishment of a WESTPAC Advisory Group; the setting up of the UNESCO/IOC Regional Network of Training & Research Centres on Oceanography; implementation of the Program (2008–2010); assisting and coordinating the implementations of IOC global programmes in the region; and strengthening cooperation with other regional marine-related organizations/programs. He informed the meeting that Mr. Wenxi Zhu has been appointed as Head of WESTPAC Secretariat and Program Specialist of UNESCO Bangkok Office in March of this year.
Dr Zhang also pointed out, till the Eighth Session of WESTPAC in 2010, priority will be given to activities on development of WESTPAC Marine Science Plan, Preparations for the Eighth WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium in 2011, and organization/coordination of a serial of workshops/ project activities, particularly those planned for celebrating the 50th Anniversary of IOC. In view of challenges faced by WESTPAC on financial instability, lack of staff and regional expertise with regional perspective, he stressed the need for IOC to develop a medium/long-tem strategy of strengthening the presence of IOC at regional level, and encouraged all member states to second experts working at the WESTPAC Secretariat and nominate suitable experts to join in the development of WESTPAC Marine Science Plan. Dr. Zhang concluded his presentation by expressing his thanks to member states for the support provided, two vice-chairpersons, Prof. Yasuwo Fukuyo and Noi Aieni Binti Hj Mokhtar for their dedication and voluntary work for WESTPAC, and Mr. Wenxi Zhu for his excellent work done in promoting regional cooperation.