IOC Sub-Commission

for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

International Scientific Symposia

The ocean, our common heritage, is key to sustaining all humankind on the planet. It shapes Earth’s climate and influences the distribution of ecosystems, biodiversity, and thus food availability.

The Western Pacific and its adjacent regions are of vast social and economic importance with over 70% of its population living in and relying economically on coastal areas, and more than half of the world’s annual merchant tonnage traversing this area. Meanwhile, the ocean in the region is among the richest and most productive marine areas in the world as the epicenter of the world marine biodiversity, spawning and nursery grounds for diverse marine species, and is universally recognized as one major influence on the global and regional climate system.

Humans, however, have put the ocean at risk of irreversible damage by unregulated exploration and development, increasing pollution, climate change and ocean acidification. As such, it is imperative to strengthen sound scientific research and systematic observations to underpin the sustainable governance of the ocean.

It is within this context that the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) has been committed to its mission to promote international cooperation in marine research, observations, services, and capacity development in the Western Pacific and its adjacent regions, 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 and the protection of the marine environment.

Since its establishment in 1989, WESTPAC has organized a series of WESTPAC international scientific symposia as a unique regional platform to advance marine scientific knowledge, and catalyze multi- and cross-disciplinary collaborations among its Member States with a view to addressing challenges this particular region is facing for sharing the wealth of the ocean to benefit all.

Upon the kind offer of the Government of Vietnam, the WESTPAC 9th International Scientific Symposium entitled “A Healthy Ocean for Prosperity in the Western Pacific: Scientific Challenges and Possible Solutions” took place in Nha Trang, Vietnam, 22-25 April 2014 in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of WESTPAC.

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