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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

The seventh International Scientific Symposium of IOC/WESTPAC on “Natural Hazards and Changing Marine Environment in the Western Pacific”

The Seventh IOC/WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium “Natural Hazards and Changing Marine Environment in the Western Pacific” was held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 21-25 May 2008, with the kind support of the Government of Malaysia. The Symposium was to provide a platform for scientists to present, discuss and share their research findings and experiences related to the theme of the Symposium. Within the theme, presentations and discussions focused on the four following sub-themes:

I. Effects of climate change on the Western Pacific
II. Coastal and offshore processes in the Western Pacific and their measurement
III. Marine environmental forecast and data management
IV. Marine ecosystem health

A total of 321 participants from 16 countries attended the Symposium. All of the participants made valuable contributions to the nature of discussions and resolution on the key points in the presented papers.

Seven (7) keynote speakers were invited (see appendix 2). They were country representatives nominated by focal points in the respective countries of the IOC-WESTPAC.

The scientific program of the Symposium was structured to run in four (4) concurrent sessions due to the large number of presentations in specialised areas. Papers encompass all the four (4) sub-themes of the Symposium: Sub-theme-I : Effects of climate change on the Western Pacific. Sub-theme-II : Coastal and offshore processes in the Western Pacific and their measurement. Sub-theme-III : Marine environmental forecast and data management. Sub-theme-IV : Marine ecosystem health.

CHAIRS Chairpersons were selected to conduct various sessions in the sub-themes. Due to overwhelming response from the participants, the Secretariat has allocated 26 session chairs. Session chairs were selected based on their experience and expertise, and with due consideration of a regional balance. Session chairs were given an orientation session prior to the commencement of the Symposium and provided with guidelines to report key points which were based from the presentation and discussion during the question-and-answer time.

One full day was scheduled for the following workshops, each of which had a convener who acted as the chairperson. For highly focused discussions, five (5) workshops were held concurrently on the following topics:
Workshop-1: Linkages in Biogeochemical Cycles between Surface Ocean and Lower Atmosphere (SOLAS)
Workshop-2: Ocean Remote Sensing – from Satellite Oceanography to ICAM
Workshop-3: Harmful Algal Blooms in the Western Pacific- Status of Research and Training
Workshop-4: Prioritization of R&D in Natural Hazards and the Changing Marine Environment in Malaysia
Workshop-5: Pollution of Hazardous Chemicals in the Coastal Marine Environment and their Ecological Effects

The final day of the Symposium was allocated for the deliberations on summary reports on the four (4) sub-themes and the workshop sessions. The process involves the submission of reports based on a structured format where the reports submitted by the session chairs were consolidated by chairpersons of the National Organizing Committee, Local Technical Committee, Local Scientific Committee and the Organizing Secretary. The consolidated and articulated report was submitted to panellists selected from amongst the participants covering the various sub-themes.

A total of 12 recommendations were proposed and endorsed by the participants.