Responding to the requirements of international instruments and Member States, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), rooted in the most densely populated area with significant social and economic reliance on ocean and coasts, is committed to developing and enhancing the capacities of young scientists, institutions and countries in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions for marine scientific research, observations, and services.

The WESTPAC’s RTRC initiative, developed with numerous experiences and lessons learnt from previous efforts on capacity development in the region, provides a self-driven approach tailored to the regional needs by building upon existing scientific specializations and expertise of national oceanographic institutes and universities in the region. The IOC/WESTPAC further emphasized the guiding principle for WESTPAC Capacity Building efforts to foster North-South and South-South collaboration, and to link trainings to the attainment of research goals addressing critical challenges to sustainable development in the region.

The Vision for WESTPAC’s capacity development is to envision a future wherein Member States in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions are empowered with effective governance for a healthy ocean, building on strong scientific understanding and systematic observations of the changing climate and ocean ecosystems, which embodies:

• Development of “IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centres on Marine Science” through the establishment of IOC Regional Training and Research Centres (RTRCs) in national marine research institutes and/or universities, and provision of regular trainings on the specialization focus of these Centres to young scientists mainly from developing nations within and outside the region;

• Conduct of a series of topic-specific trainings in Member States on a rotation basis;

• "Training Through Research” through the engagement of early career scientists into WESTPAC research programs;

• Establishment of a “WESTPAC Best Young Scientist Award” and a “WESTPAC Young Scientist Travel Grant” to nurture young science leaders and facilitate international exposure of young scientists.

Recommendations of the 9th WESTPAC International Scientific Symposium (Nha Trang, Vietnam, 22-25 April 2014) and the UNESCO-ASEAN Framework Agreement for Cooperation (2014-2018), stressed the need for WESTPAC to continuously develop this regional network of RTRCs aiming to strengthen regional and national capacity in a sustainable and systematic manner with guiding principles to foster North-South and South-South collaboration, and to develop training programs leading to the attainment of research goals.

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