2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference &
11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference
“Accelerating Ocean Science Solutions for Sustainable Development”
Bangkok, Thailand, 22 – 25 April 2024
The Decade Action Workshops allow UN Ocean Decade Actions (Decade Programmes and Decade Projects), particularly those which have a focus on the region, to bring together Action partners, review their development progress, catalyze new partnerships, and deliberate on action plans.
Currently, more than 100,000 chemical substances are used in our daily lives and industries. Many of these chemicals eventually find their way into estuaries through various pathways such as rivers, surface runoff, and partially treated wastewater discharged from treatment plants. There is a lack of information available for the occurrence and environmental risks of various contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in urbanized estuaries, particularly in Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and Oceania coastal areas.
Hence, the Global Estuaries Monitoring (GEM) Programme has been launched under the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development with a view to developing a global monitoring network, revealing the pollution status, and co-creating solutions for making our estuaries cleaner and safer. This workshop will provide a platform for participants to bring together action partners, update the progress of GEM, catalyze new partnerships, and deliberate on collaborative projects and action plans for the next phase of GEM.
Marine ecosystems in East and Southeast Asia are the hotspots of biodiversity in the world, but they are threatened by various types of human-induced threats. Establishing sustainable programs of marine biodiversity monitoring and research, and sharing the obtained data through networks of scientists and stakeholders are required for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of the sea.
One of the missions of AP MBON (Asia-Pacific Marine Biodiversity Observation Network) is to help marine scientists of the region to establish the networks of biodiversity monitoring programs, including integration of obtained data to global databases, and linking scientists and stakeholders for better utilization of marine biodiversity data. To achieve these goals, this workshop will explore the current status, gaps, challenges and opportunities of establishing sustainable biodiversity monitoring and research programs in Asia-Pacific regions through a tight collaboration with scientists and stakeholders.
There is a growing consensus for accelerating Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) among marine policy makers, researchers, and stakeholders in the Western Pacific countries, as well as a concrete initiative to promote the implementation of the Global MSP 2030 in the region.
The workshop will focus on exploring good practices on ecosystem-based MSP, sharing the MSP experience, and mapping the key success factors of MSP from preparation to implementation. Based on that, the progress on UN21 project: Accelerating MSP in the Western Pacific over the past two years will be also reviewed, with the way forward discussed.
Rivers in the Asia-Pacific are hotspots exporting land-based plastic and microplastics into the ocean. accounted for more than half of the global riverine plastic waste. The objectives of this Decade Action (UN 22) are to generate timely data, information and knowledge needed to formulate and implement technological, behavioral, and policy solutions. This workshop will identify current key knowledge gaps needed to be filled in riverine plastic and microplastics monitoring, management, etc., and update the progresses made of the Decade Action via featuring invited presentations and deepening discussions from all the participants. This workshop will convoke experts, researchers, students, and government representatives from within and outside the region who are willing to engage in the development of the UN Decade Action, and conduct plastic research, monitoring, and mitigation in the region. We encourage all participants to actively engage in the discussions, share their expertise, and foster meaningful collaborations.
The 2nd Cooperative Study of Kuroshio and Adjacent Regions – from its sciences to human well beings (CSK-2 programme) was established to study the physical and biogeochemical processes in the Kuroshio and the adjacent regions in 2021 at the 13th Intergovernmental Session of WESTPAC and was registered as UN Decade Action Programme (UN-24) in April 2022. The International Steering Group (ISG) has met three times and conducted the first scientific symposium in February 2023. Through these activities, Science Action Plan (SAP) and Data and Information Management Plan (DIMP) were published for effective researches, and now there are eleven endorsed CSK-2 projects.
As a next step, following the incubator #13 held in November 2021, based on the current scientific actions under CSK-2 (UN-24), we will make continuous efforts to co-design our future actions to address various issues related to the Kuroshio with potential stakeholders. Workshop will be composed of sessions covering “current activities of CSK-2”, “ activities by potential stakeholders”, and finally “discussion on potential co-design theme and a framework for collective actions”.
The Western Pacific, including Marginal Seas of South and East Asia, is crucial for ocean prediction and application. It greatly affects climate, economies, ecosystems, food, and coastal management in this densely populated region. The warm waters in the region are linked not only to the frequency of typhoon but also to climate patterns like El Niño and El Niño Modoki. Also, the area is rich in marine resources, especially fisheries. So, monitoring and understanding how the ocean functions and predict how it will behave in the future as it responds to multiple pressures are vital for sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, and protection of marine ecosystems in the region. However, there’s still much we don’t know about the marine ecosystem and ocean dynamics. The workshop will review the present status of operational oceanography in the region and discuss further developments, through sharing information and developing forecasting systems and user interfaces based on ocean digital twins.
The Global Environment Monitoring System for the Ocean and Coasts (GEMS Ocean) Programme is a multi-stakeholder partnership bringing together experts from earth observation, monitoring and modelling communities, together with end users and stakeholders to provide fit-for-purpose information for policy-making.
The workshop aims to bring together key stakeholders with an objective of deliberations on innovative solutions to upscale ocean knowledge and information management in the region. Specifically, the workshop aims to: Provide a platform to share and exchange experiences, knowledge and information on the status, conditions, and trends of critical ecosystems and the main challenges facing them in the region.
Showcase progress in forging regional common strategies for critical ecosystems: showcasing case studies for DTTOs. Identify priority possible solutions for addressing the main challenges facing the critical ecosystems in the region.Deliberate and build consensus on forging an effective transdisciplinary partnership and collaborative framework to upscale ocean knowledge and information management in the region.
Expected outcomes of the workshop include: A framework for adoption of innovative solutions that embrace the use of emerging technologies such as the digital twining of the oceans (DTTOs) for improved policy and decision making. Consensus on a way forward and action plan for the strengthening of transdisciplinary partnership and collaboration in the region.
The workshop will focus on the implementation progress of the ongoing UN Ocean Decade project-MoNITOR (Mitigation of Natural Incidence Towards an Increased Oceanic Resilience).
The Western Pacific is subjected to many serious hazards including the extreme weather events, heat waves, marine pollutions, and coastal eutrophication, resulting in the destruction of habitats, hypoxia, eutrophication, acidification and the growing number of endangered marine species. However, how to reduce the loss caused by these hazards has always been a great concern.
This workshop seeks to foster interdisciplinary collaborations among partners about physical processes, biogeochemical cycle and fishery resources, to gain an integrated view of identifying oceanic hazardous events and mitigating their impacts. This workshop aims to advance our understanding of marine hazards and design an approach for achieving a healthy and sustainable ocean through observation, modelling and prediction.
The ECOP-led ocean literacy (OL) workshop will bring together experts from Asia to collectively advance ocean literacy in the region and brainstorm what is needed (e.g., regional guidebook, blue schools, etc.).
The event aims to facilitate dialogue, identify gaps, share best practices and promote collaboration among OL stakeholders and other interested parties. The workshop will feature an interactive panel session with 5-6 speakers, including ECOPs and senior experts from diverse sectors and countries. Each speaker will deliver a short presentation and incorporate interactive elements to engage the audience. We will also discuss the necessary resources to sustain OL in Asia, including funding, partnerships, institutional support, and endorsements. Specifically, we will highlight the potential contributions of WESTPAC and other regional Decade stakeholders in mainstreaming OL in Asia.
Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) play a key role in advancing marine science and research projects to understand underlying processes and explore possible solutions on marine related issues. Recent ECOP Asia surveys in 2022-2023 show that most Asian ECOPs have faced major challenges such as lack of research funding, stable job, and training/mentoring opportunities. These challenges have long lasted and undermined ECOP research activities, but few effective measurements have been undertaken to improve the current situation.
This workshop aims to share successful stories and experience (e.g., fruitful collaboration with industry, marine education/outreach at school) from the UN Decade Actions and other communities that overcome the major challenges identified across disciplines. We also discuss how ECOPs can undertake concrete actions and propose possible solutions against these challenges and provide useful information on how to access future opportunities under the framework of UN Decade and WESTPAC.
Capacity building is essential to the mission of the Ocean Decade. The IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) initiated the regional capacity building program entitled ‘IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) on Marine Science’ in 2008, in response to the needs of Member States aiming at improving national and regional capability for marine science in a sustainable and systematic manner and integrate research with training. So far six RTRCs have been established and are continuously providing high-quality training, research opportunities, and sustainable long-term services for the region as efficient platforms for co-designing and co-delivering IOC regional capacity development. Building on the consensus of common challenges to be tackled and the objectives to be achieved of UN Ocean Decade, the RTRCs were successfully registered as one of the UN Ocean Decade projects in 2022 with a focus on capacity building for the Western Pacific area.
This workshop aims to provide an opportunity for sharing the status, accomplishments, and challenges of RTRCs’ operation, with the purpose of strengthening cooperation and partnership, integrating their interdisciplinary expertise to generate scientific solutions for sustainable ocean and coastal development, and enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of their operations.