The Agreement was co-signed by Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of IOC and Assistant Director General of UNESCO, and Prof. Ma Deyi, Director General of the First Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration of China, and witnessed by more than eighty delegates and representatives from eleven Member States in the WESTPAC region and five regional partner organizations and programmers.
In her congratulatory speech, Dr. Watson-Wright expressed that “it is largely due to the strong commitment among member states to promoting North-South and South-South Cooperation that this regional capacity building activity could be initiated by WESTPAC Secretariat and adopted by all member states of IOC.” She also expected that “this regionally specific activity should provide valuable experience which could be shared with other regions. Self-motivation and drive are the keys to empowering member states to address their issues in the study and management of their coasts and oceans.”
Prof. Deyi Ma, Director General of the host institute, assured the commitment of his institute to develop the Center as a successful platform for young scientists in the region. Being one of key oceanographic institutes in China, the First Institute of Oceanography with a history of more than fifty years has been dedicated to research on ocean dynamics and climate change.
In accordance with the Agreement, the Center, once it is operational, will provide regular training, once a year on ocean dynamics, air-sea interaction, and numerical modeling for young scientists, particularly from developing member states in the region on a free-of-charge basis.
The Center was established within the framework of “UNESCO/IOC Regional Network of Training and Research Centers on Oceanography in the Western Pacific” which was initiated by the UNESCO/IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) in 2008, aiming to improve the regional capacity and capability on oceanography more systematically and sustainably, through the establishment of regional training and research centers within national oceanographic institutes and universities.