TheIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO(IOC/UNESCO) is the only competent organization for marine science within the UNsystem.The purpose of the Commission is to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in research, services and capacity-building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States.
The Western Pacific and its adjacent regions are of vast environmental, social and economic importance. Being the most densely populated region, and growth engine of the world economy, humans livelihoods and prosperities have been inextricably linked to ocean, with large impacts on the surrounding coastal waters and marine ecosystems, such as marine pollution, overfishing, biodiversity and habitat loss and climate change. As such, it is imperative to strengthen sound scientific research, sustained observations and services, and enhance scientific capacity to underpin the sustainable governance of the ocean in the region.
IOC/UNESCO, mainly through its Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific and adjacent regions (WESTPAC), assists in advancing ocean knowledge and developing research capacities of countries in this region, in view of their needs and challenges they have been faced in conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resource.
This voluntary commitment aims to develop and strengthen research capacity of UN Member States in the region through the UNESCO/IOC regional network of training and research centers on marine science.
The RTRC network was initiated in 2008 by UN Member States in the region and subsequently adopted by IOC/UNESCO, aiming to improve national and regional capability and capacity on marine science in a sustainable and systematic manner, through the establishment of IOC Regional Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) in national oceanographic institutes or universities, and regular provision of training and research opportunities in RTRCs on their specialized areas to young scientists mainly from developing countries within and outside the region.
Till present, two RTRCs have been established, respectively in China on Ocean Dynamics and Climate (RTRC-ODC), and in Indonesia on Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health (RTRC-MarBEST), with regular trainings being provided to all UN Member States mainly those in the region.
Other three or more RTRCs are under development with focus to addressing other key regional issues based on the needs of UN Member States in the region. Once established, these RTRC will start providing regular trainings on their specialized areas.
Updates to voluntary commitment
Establishment of other two even more regional training and research centers based on the priority interests of UN Member States in the region, with regular trainings provided since their inception;
May 2017- 09/2019
Provision of regular trainings on ocean dynamics & climate, marine biodiversity and ecosystem health
A network of regional training and research centers fully operational