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Develop research capacity and transfer of marine technology through the UNESCO/IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers (RTRCs) on Marine Science in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions in support of the SDG 14.a
by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, via its Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) (United Nations entity)
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.

Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): research and capacity building
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): capacity building
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): training
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
December 2019
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
May 2020
A network of regional training and research centers fully operational
Financing (in USD)
60,000 USD
In-kind contribution
The commitment will be made in a self-driven approach with in kind contribution of UN Member States in the region
Basic information
Time-frame: May 2017 - May 2020
Ocean research institutes, universities, and competent government agencies of UN Member States for oceans in the region, which include the State Oceanic Administration of China and its First Institute of Oceanography; Indonesian Institutes of Science and its Research Center for Oceanography; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the University of Tokyo; Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology; Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, and the Institute of Oceanography; Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and the Phuket Marine Biological Center; and the University of Philippines. At international level: IOC and other ocean-related global programs, leading ocean research institutions outside the region
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
  • North Pacific
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Wenxi ZHU, Head, UNESCO/IOC Regional Secretariat for WESTPAC, w.zhu@unesco.org, +66 2 141 1287
Paris, France
Other SDGs
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