Thailand Gears Up for the “2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference

Thailand Gears Up for the “2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference

Thailand Gears Up for the “2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference & 11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference”

Bangkok, Thailand – On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Mr. Thalerngsak Petsuwan, announced the readiness of the Ministry to host the “2nd United Nations Decade Regional Conference & 11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference” (the Conference). Aligned with the vision of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of MNRE, Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan, the upcoming event underscores the crucial role of marine science and technology in advancing ocean sustainibility.

The press conference was attended by distinguished guests including Mr. Chidchanok Sukmongkol, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR); Mr. Wenxi Zhu, Head of the UNESCO/IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (IOC/WESTPAC) Office; and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thamasak Yeemin, President of the Marine Science Association of Thailand (MSAT), accompanied by the representatives from Kasetsart University, Burapha University – Chanthaburi Campus, Chulalongkorn University, Ramkhamhaeng University, Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya – Trang Campus, officials of MNRE and DMCR, and media personels.

Mr. Thalerngsak Petsuwan emphasized Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan’s vision to position Thailand as a prominent knowledge exchange hub for marine science and technology, not only at national level but also at the regional level. The Thai government, in collaboration with IOC/WESTPAC, is set to co-organize the 2nd UN Ocean Decade Regional Conference and the 11th WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference, which will take place from April 22 to 25, 2024, at the Berkeley Hotel in Pratunam, Bangkok. On behalf of MNRE, Captain Rachata expresses gratitude to the IOC/WESTPAC and the local organizing committee, which includes DMCR, MSAT, and five leading universities for their tireless effort for over a year in preparation of the Conference. He underscored that the Conferences are envisioned as transformative platforms, aiming to accelerate the development of ocean science solutations to sustainable development.

Mr. Chidchanok Sukmongkol, Deputy Director-General of DMCR, provided insight into the conference’s structure druring 22 – 25 April 2024. The event will feature 7 keynote speakers, 25 scientific sessions, a special forum, 13 Decade Action workshops, 12 Decade Action incubators, and private company exhibition booths. Since August 2023, the organizing team has received over 1,300 registrations, including 831 abstract submissions, from over 60 countries.

The Conference will bring together various ocean stakeholders, including governments, research communities, private sector, philanthropic foundations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society, to present the current status of ocean knowledge, take stock of the first three years’ achievements of the Ocean Decade Actions, identify future priorities, and continuously catalyze partnerships and concrete actions for transformative ocean-based solutions to sustainability challenges in the region, such as resource depletion, marine pollution, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, climate change and ocean acidification, and natural hazards.

Young scientists are incentivized by six awards for the best oral and poster presentations, while the WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist Award 2024 awaits the nominated ocean scientists who have significantly contributed to the international cooperation among countries in the region. Additionally, a photo competition on “Coral Reef Restoration” is open for entry until 15 March 2024, with more details at www.ioc-westpac.org/photo-competition.

Mr. Wenxi Zhu, Head of the IOC/WESTPAC Office, a coordinating body of UNESCO in the region, highly commended Thailand for hosting the Conference, and its contribution to advancing marine science research, particularly for marine and coastal management, biodiversity conservation, and ocean ecosystem health. The lasting commitment of Thailand has been seen as a significant step toward a sustainable marine economy, making a positive impact at both regional and global levels.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thammasak Yeemin, President of MSAT extended his gratitude to IOC/WESTPAC and MNRE for co-organizing the Conference in Thailand. He highlighted the significance of this opportunity for Thai research personnel to engage in a valuable exchange of perspectives with diverse sectors from different countries. Particularly beneficial to the early career ocean professionals (ECOPs), this platform will enhance and broaden their research horizons and networks both regionally and globally. It represents a noteworthy stride in the co-development of “The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want.”

On behalf of the local organizing committee, Mr. Chidchanok extends a warm invitation to all interested parties to register for the Conference, through the official website www.iocwestpac2024.com, by March 1, 2024. Anticipated outcomes from the Conference includes, but not limited to, the promotion of knowledge, fostering collaboration, and the establishment of a resilient ocean network at national and international levels.

“Don’t miss the chance to contribute to the advancement of ocean-related initiatives and to strengthen connections within the community. Your active participation is crucial for shaping the success of these impactful events”, Mr. Chidchanok conveyed his final message.