Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society
Regional Training and Research Center on Coastal Contaminant Monitoring and Marine Innovative Technologies
Marine pollution, also be termed as ocean pollution, is one of the biggest global challenges, and likely to be exacerbated as a result of escalating human activities. It poses significant threats to marine biodiversity and natural resources, human health, as well as blue economy and sustainability. Marine environments of the Western Pacific region are exceptionally biologically diverse and rich with vibrant and important marine habitats (e.g., coral reefs, sea grass beds, wetlands, mangroves and oyster reefs). However, these habitats are facing anthropogenic stresses wrought by population growth, coastal development, overharvest, and pollution. International cooperation through integrative environmental policy and advances in relevant science and technology is required to address such unprecedented challenges.
The UNESCO/IOC Regional Training and Research Centre on Coastal Contaminant Monitoring and Marine Innovative Technologies (RTRC-Coastal COMMIT) at the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (SKLMP) of the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) was officially approved by the UNESCO/IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) at its 14th Intergovernmental Session (WESTPAC-XIV, 4-7 April 2023, Jakarta, Indonesia).
The RTRC-Coastal COMMIT aims to serve the needs of countries in the region to ensure ecological safety, and thereby protect key marine habitats and conserving biodiversity and natural resources therein. We will assist countries, particularly the developing nations, in the WESTPAC region and its adjacent areas, in enhancing their research capacity for coastal contaminant monitoring, promote the development of marine innovation technologies, and facilitate international research collaboration for the protection of marine environment and sustainable development.
To demonstrate the role of the Coastal-COMMIT in the monitoring of marine contaminants and innovative technologies and respond to the call of the “United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030),” the RTRC pledged to provide a series of training courses in several areas, such as monitoring of contaminants of emerging concern, environmental risk assessment, coral reef survey techniques, and research on toxic benthic algae.
The Center will also initiate and catalyze international research collaboration in the WESTPAC region. For instance, the Center hopes to involve more countries in the “Global Estuaries Monitoring (GEM) Program” which is an Ocean Decade Program endorsed by UNESCO/IOC, the UN coordinating agency for the Ocean Decade to reveal the global status of estuarine pollution and promote the best practices and solutions to combat pollution problems, thus achieving the ambitious UN Ocean Decade Societal Outcomes: a clean ocean, a healthy and resilient ocean, and a productive ocean.