Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society
IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers on Marine Science
Capacity development is one of the core functions of the IOC/UNESCO and serves as the primary catalyst through which IOC will achieve its missions and objectives.
‘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 programme 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).
The initiative aims to improve and sustain national and regional research capacity of IOC Member States in the region that are vital to sustainable development, through the establishment of Regional Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) in national oceanographic institutes or universities, and provision of regular training and research opportunities in RTRCs on their specialized areas to young scientists mainly from developing countries particularly in the region.
Since its establishment, the RTRC network has been co-developed and co-implemented with Member States in the region. It builds on Member States’ strong ownerships and the host institutions’ widely recognized areas of specialization, cross-fertilizes the global-wide knowledge and expertise, links training closely to research, and suits national and regional priorities for ocean sustainability.
The support by Member States proved that the RTRC initiative provides a suitable tool, in particular for the region, to assist Member States in developing and sustaining the necessary capacity to achieve the IOC vision and objectives at the national level as well as at the international cooperation level.
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. At present, a total of five RTRCs were established, focusing on different regional ocean priorities. respectively. The Regional Training and Research Centre on Ocean Dynamics and Climate (RTRC-ODC) was established at the First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration of China, the Regional Training and Research Centre on Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health (RTRC-MarBEST) at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia, and three new RTRCs, respectively on Reef Management and Restoration (the University of the Philippines), Marine Toxin and Food Safety (Institute of Oceanography, Vietnam), and Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics (East China Normal University of China).
If your institution is willing to join the collective effort, you can refer to the adopted Guidelines and Procedures here.
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