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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Senior governmental officials set to boost the UN Ocean Decade

“National governments must continue to support the development of transformative ocean science solutions and enhance mutual assistance and cooperation.” Senior Governmental Officials (SGOs) from countries in the Western Pacific voiced their strong supports for the UN Ocean Decade, and put forward the way forward for enhanced efforts in the region.

The Senior Governmental Officials from national competent agencies of ten countries in the region gathered at a SGOs Roundtable on 5 April 2023 at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Jakarta. The SGOs Roundtable was organized as integral part of the 14th Intergovernmental Session of the Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific, hosted by the Government of Indonesia on 4-7 April 2023.

As the Ocean Decade enters its third year, thus there is a need to review its progress, identify challenges and seek new opportunities in the region and beyond for further catalyzing ocean science solutions to ocean sustainability and sustainable economy. Therefore, the SGOs Roundtable, as a follow-up to the high-level commitments at the UN Ocean Decade Regional Kickoff Conference for the Western Pacific (25-26 November 2021), aimed to bring together senior officials from national competent agencies in the region, facilitate the exchange of views and progress, identify challenges, seek new opportunities, and further advance meaningful partnerships and cooperation in the region and beyond.

The SGOs Roundtable was chaired by the host country- Indonesia, represented by Mego Pinandito, BRIN’s Deputy Chair for Development Policy, with the participation of more than sixty delegates to the Session. Senior Governmental Officials from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, USA, and Indonesia, shared their progresses made since the Kickoff Conference, stressed the need for further engaging relevant stakeholders in co-design and co-development of “the science we need for the ocean we want”, and further highlighted the pivotal role of the IOC-WESTPAC in promoting, and mobilizing Decade Actions in the region and beyond.

The Roundtable discussions eventually culminated in a “SGOs Jakarta Statement”. It outlines concrete collective actions they will take in advancing the UN Ocean Decade to achieve the sustainable development of ocean, marine and coastal resources, including strengthening coordination at national and institutional levels; advancing trans and multi-disciplinary ocean research; promoting stakeholder engagement, improving research capacity focusing on Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) and including Small Island Developing States (SIDS); promoting ocean education, ocean culture and ocean literacy; and fostering ocean science-policy interface in the region.

The SGOs further decided to foster the SGOs Roundtable as an effective mechanism for reviewing the progress, exchanging perspectives, and discussing challenges and opportunities for the development and implementation of substantive Ocean Decade Actions in the region. The next SGOs Roundtable is expected to take place in Japan, early 2025.

For more background information about the SGOs Roundtable, you can find its Concept Note and Programme here.