The newly established Advisory Group of the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) convened its first meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 27-29 March 2013. The meeting was organized by the IOC Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC Office) with the kind host of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand. The major objectives for the meeting are to i) brief on the status and challenges of WESTPAC; ii) brainstorm a road map for the future of WESTPAC; and iii) deliberate on the 25th Anniversary of WESTPAC 2014 and the 9th WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium in Vietnam 2014.
During the two days meeting, the new Advisory Group provided scientific and technical advice in view of the urgent need for the Sub-Commission to prove its unique role in bridging the knowledge gap between governmental agencies and scientific communities, and serving the societal needs in the realization and implementation of the Rio+20 outcome document, UN Ocean Compact, Yeosu Declaration, and the ongoing World Ocean Assessment.
“The Advisory Group is of great help to further strengthen WESTPAC” said Mr Wenxi Zhu, Head & Programme Specialist of WESTPAC Office, Bangkok. “Despite notable achievements made over past five years in the establishment of regional collaborative framework, development and implementation of a number of regional programs, WESTPAC has been still in a fluid situation, not only in terms of his program deliveries, but also his operational mechanism at regional and national level.”
WESTPAC Advisory Group has been established since 2008 as a mechanism for providing scientific and technical advice to the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) on the development, planning and implementation of the activities of the Sub-Commission.
In January 2013 five regional experts were newly elected to be the members of the WESTPAC Advisory Group (2013-2014, renewable). The group is chaired by Dr. Youn-Ho Lee (Republic of Korea) with composition of Dr. Somkiat Khokiattiwong (Thailand), Dr. Vo Si Tuan (Vietnam), Dr. Weidong Yu (China), Dr. Zainal Arifin (Indonesia), Dr. Kentaro Ando (Japan), Dr. Nor Aieni Haji Mokhtar (Malaysia ) and Dr. Gil Suico Jacinto (Philippines) and meet at the WESTPAC Advisory Group Meeting 2013.