L to R: Sukiman (observer); Prabhat, Patrick, Marie-Isabel, Roger, Javed (Chair), Nordin (Ex-officio), Sharizad (Science Officer)
The newly constituted ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) Science Planning Group on Epigenetics (SPGE) met in Kuala Lumpur on 10 and 11 October 2016 to develop a science plan on epigenetics and its relations to urban health in Asia and the Pacific. The Plan will review the epigenetic landscape in urban health, document what is known about triggers and epigenetic modifications, identify emerging research areas, including research on genetic products change, biochemical pathways and their relations to diseases in rapidly expanding urban populations. How knowledge of epigenetics can impact disease risk assessments, influence urban planning, public health and other policies, will be explained. The plan also envisages to draw attention to the use of epigenetic knowledge to identify biomarkers and therapeutic targets, and provide illustrative case studies of relevance to the further development of the field in Asia and the Pacific. We wish the SPGE every success in its endeavour to strengthen research on epigenetics in the region.
The 3-day Regional Symposium of the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA) begins today (26 September 2016) in Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Hosted by the Regional Office of SIMSEA and the Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, the symposium attracted the participation of 111 scientists and other stakeholders from 11 countries in the region. The Symposium aims to promote transdisciplinary research in the context of SDGs focused on coastal and marine issues; explore opportunities for research collaboration and networking towards sustainable development in the region; and introduce transdisciplinary research in sustainable development to early career and others scholars in the region. The marginal seas of South and East Asia extends from the Kurile Islands in the North to the Indonesian archipelago to the South and the Indian Ocean to the West. The South and East Asian marginal seas are vulnerable to rapid coastal population growth, over-harvesting of marine biological resources, and pollution. Its ecosystems support more than 30% of the world’s coral reefs and produce about 40 million tons of fish and more than 80% of the world’s aquaculture products annually. The high extraction volume of marine bioresources, rapid population growth, and rapid economic development increasingly challenge the ability of these seas to provide the ecosystem services that drive economic growth and development in the region. The full programme of the symposium is available from the link given below. SIMSEA is endorsed as a regional activity of Future Earth, the new international research platform that aims to provide the knowledge and support to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world.
*You may track progress of the Symposium on your mobile using the mobile app for the Symposium downloadable from the Google Play Store and Apple Store. Name of the App: SIMSEA 2016
SIMSEA Android application: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.asiapacific.simsea2016
SIMSEA iOS is in the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/simsea-2016/id1156976350?mt=8
The 6th meeting of the ICSU ROAP Steering Group on Natural Hazards and Risk (SGNHR) was held in Jakarta on 21 and 22 September 2016. The Group was established in 2012 to guide and assist ICSU ROAP deliver the range of activities necessary to achieve the objectives of its priority area of work in hazards and disasters in Asia and the Pacific.The terms of reference of the Group was updated to the version given below. It now takes into account latest developments in the field of disaster risk reduction, and of the needs of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- To foster collaboration between academia, research institutions and scientific societies that focus on natural hazards and risk;
- To advise ICSU ROAP on appropriate actions that facilitate a regional approach to the multidisciplinary study of hazards and risk;
- To coordinate with agencies that can support the implementation of ICSU ROAP science plans on hazards and disasters (Science Plan on Earthquakes, Floods and Landslides; Science Plan on the Special Vulnerability of Islands)
- To undertake fundamental scientific research on natural hazards in the Asia–Pacific region, and identify funding opportunities for associated projects;
- To disseminate key scientific knowledge to the wider society, and to cooperate with national and regional disaster management authorities, and raise awareness of hazards and risk in vulnerable communities;
- To liaise and collaborate with the Asian insurance and reinsurance industry dealing with catastrophe risk analysis, in order to identify common goals and to offer relevant scientific expertise; and
- To engage with the implementation of The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 - 2030, emphasising the importance of natural hazards science in meeting the stated targets and priorities for action.
The Group welcomed Dr Vena Pearl Bongalan of the University of the Philippines as a new member. She is a member of the disaster risk modelling and simulation research interest group based at the Scientific Computing Laboratory of the university. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) which is the National Member of ICSU in Indonesia hosted and participated in the meeting on its second day. The SGNHR and LIPI exchanged information during a short seminar hosted by LIPI, on their respective roles and functions, presented news about their current research projects and recent publications, and explored potential for collaboration in research on natural hazards and risk, between LIPI and ICSU ROAP through the work of the SGNHR and partners.
Disaster risk reduction is a major priority for governments, and other stakeholders throughout the world. This is especially so in Asia and the Pacific where disaster risk is very high because of high population densities, climate variability and tectonic activity. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 articulates not only the need for improved understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of exposure, vulnerability and hazard characteristics, but also of the need to strengthen disaster risk governance through the provision of timely scientific advice to the policy communities in the region. It specifically calls for stronger mobilization and application of science in decision-making and practice, and for increased international scientific cooperation. This workshop aims to:
- explore and understand the gaps and challenges in implementing science based decision making in a selection of countries;
- Share best practices of science based decision making;
- Suggest a framework for the development of national level plans for strengthening national scientific advisory capacities for DRR.
It will be followed by a second workshop when a selection of countries in Asia and the Pacific will present the draft of their national plans for regional recognition and endorsement.
The Honorable Fortunato T. de la Peña, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Republic of the Philippines was given a 45 minute briefing on SIMSEA, Future Earth in Asia, and Future Earth by the Chair of the ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU RCAP), Professor Lourdes Cruz, and the Director of the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP), Professor Mohd Nordin Hasan. Secretary de la Peña was keen to assist ICSU ROAP to seek avenues of support for SIMSEA which, it is hoped, will be positioned under Future Earth Philippines National Committee when it is established. It has been suggested that Future Earth Philippines can be hosted by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), a DOST agency, and resources can be made available to the SIMSEA Programme Office which is hosted by the Marine Science Institute, of the University of the Philippines, Diliman (MSI), via NAST. He expressed the hope that the support of SIMSEA by DOST can begin with an initial three-year support for the programme that can gradually evolve into a long-term programme of NAST.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) will hold a 4-day training workshop on understanding transdisciplinarity and the preparation of transdisciplinary research proposals. The workshop is being organized by Professor Fadzilah Majid Cooke of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Heritage with the assistance of ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP). Fadzilah recently established a transdisciplinary research group to undertake research under the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA), a regional activity of Future Earth, the new international platform for research on global sustainability. It is a 10-year initiative to advance Global Sustainability Science, build capacity in this rapidly expanding area of research and provide an international research agenda to guide natural and social scientists working around the world. SIMSEA is the regional platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge about the marginal seas of Asia is generated in partnership with society and users of science. The training is targeted for researchers of the UMS research node on SIMSEA which has 15 researchers from several faculties of the University working together as a team. Professor Roderick Lawrence of the University of Geneva, School of Social Sciences, will be the trainer for the workshop.
.Future Earth is a 10-year initiative to advance Global Sustainability Science, build capacity in this rapidly expanding area of research and provide an international research agenda to guide natural and social scientists working around the world. But it is also a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science.
The Kyoto University ASEAN Center which is based in Bangkok, Thailand recently visited the offices of ICSU ROAP for discussions to support its work in ASEAN. Led by Professor Mamoru Shibayama the Center is exploring ways of enhancing Kyoto University’s global collaborative networks and promoting the advancement of research and education in Asia. The Center established in June 2014 aims to effectively strengthen existing research and educational collaboration and networks in the ASEAN region by expanding its joint activitieswith ASEAN universities and research institutions. The ASEAN Center has also established the Japan-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Platform (JASTIP) to help achieve its three pronged mission of implementing advanced international joint research, promoting societal implementation of research results and cultivating the next generation of human resources for innovation. Thus far JASTIP has established joint laboratories on energy and environment with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand, on bioresources and biodiversity with the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) and on Disaster Prevention with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) . The Center will organise the Kyoto-ASEAN Forum 2016 in Kuala Lumpur on 8 and 9 September 2016 with the theme Window to ASEAN International and Innovative – Exploring New Horizons in Collaboration between ASEAN and Kyoto University. More information about the Center may be obtained from here.
A forum and roundtable on Advancing Science and Technology in the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday 19 July 2016. The Sendai Framework was agreed at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March 2015 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015. A key feature of the Sendai Framework, in comparison to its predecessor the Hyogo Framework of Action, is the shift of focus from managing ‘disasters’ to managing ‘risks’. Such a shift requires a better understanding of risk in all its dimensions of hazards, exposure and vulnerability.
The events are being co-hosted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) in collaboration with the International Council for Science Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) and the Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT). The aim of the forum and roundtable is to raise awareness about the value of science, technology and innovation (STI) for disaster risk reduction by engaging with key stakeholders to stimulate discussion on options to build STI capacity, as well as to identify strategic next steps. Discussants at the Forum will include Prof Rajib Shaw, the Executive Director, Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), International Programme Office that is based in Beijing, representatives of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Centre), and representatives of national disaster management agencies in the region.The forum will include a launch event of a supplementary issue of the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health (APJPH) comprising 6 policy relevant papers on the broad theme of capacity development in response to Global Environmental Change and Human Health: Extreme Events and Urbanization in the Asia Pacific Region. Ms Michelle Gyles-McDonnough the UN Resident Coordinator for Malaysia will open the forum and will speak on STI for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.
ICSU ROAP is joining the UNU and UNDP to organize a public forum on Adavancing Science and Technology in the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. The Forum will be held at the Fraser Residence Kuala Lumpur starting at 9.00 a.m. Tuesday 19 July 2016. The Forum aims to raise awareness about the value of science, technology and innovation (STI) for disaster risk reduction by engaging with key stakeholders to stimulate discussion on options to build STI capacity, as well as to identify strategic next steps. The forum will include a launch event of the supplement of the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health (APJPH) comprising 6 policy relevant papers on the broad theme of capacity development in response to Global Environmental Change and Human Health: Extreme Events and Urbanization in the Asia Pacific Region.
ICSU ROAP organised a symposium on greening of society for global sustainability that was held on 16 June 2016 in Taipei, under the auspices of the 23rd Pacific Science Congress (PSC-23). Four scientists presented their interpretations of green development in their respective countries (Mongolia and Malaysia) or research domains (urban environment and fisheries). The scientists shared their long experience in research to enhance green development and develop green societies within the context of their areas of interest. Commonalities drawn from the presentations included the:
- need to be holistic in planning and management of development so that progress in one sector such as agriculture does not destroy valued societal heritage such as cultural diversity and traditions;
- importance of choosing the appropriate/correct metrics to monitor and spur change towards sustainability in societies;
- significance of understanding the political economy of greening and of governance beyond government;
- necessity of framing better and more frequent science-policy dialogues at all levels of society; and
- importance of managing to enhance the resilience of societies and to fully account for the cumulative impacts of human activities on ecosystems.
At the end of the symposium the panel agreed inter alia that more effort must be devoted to understanding the dynamics of change and the effects of unintended consequences. The role of education in enhancing this understanding in a rapidly interconnected world was seen as a major challenge as was the need to effectively shape behaviour towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns.
The presentations during the symposium are available from the following links:
Chuluun Togtokh - Green development policy in Mongolia
Hezri Adnan - Greening of society in Malaysia: Policy direction, institutions and polycentricity
S.C. Lung - Green transportation in urban conurbations: avoiding the air pollution trap through the systems approach in research
Simon Thrush - Greening the fisheries sector in New Zealand: An unfinished agenda
ICSU ROAP will convene a symposium session during the 23rd Pacific Science Congress that will begin on Tuesday 14 June 2016,. at the Academy located in Taipei. The theme of this Congress is “Science, Technology, and Innovation: Building a Sustainable Future in Asia and the Pacific”. The Congress is organized around three major themes i.e:
I. Understanding and Addressing Environmental Challenges;
II. Tackling Human and Social Challenges; and
III. Connecting Science and Innovation for a Sustainable 21st Century
Keynote Speakers at the Congress will include Gordon McBean, President of ICSU and Nobel Laureate Yuan Tseh Lee, the predecessor of Gordon McBean at ICSU. Gordon will speak on Disaster Risk Reduction and Yuan Tseh on Building Green Societies.
The symposium session convened by Chuluun Togtokh and Nordin Hasan on behalf of ROAP will examine the development of realistic frameworks for nurturing green societies in Asia and the Pacific. Speakers will include Hezri Adnan of the Institute for Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia, Simon Thrush of the Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland, and Taipei's own Shih-Chun Candice Lung of the Academy and her colleagues from the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER), Taipei, and from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of National Taiwan University. More information about the Congress may be obtained from the link provided below.
ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) announced today that the 5th International Workshop on Psychological Intervention After Disasters (PIAD 2016) will be held in Manila, Philippines on 14 to 17 November 2016. The workshop has been held annually since 2012. It is organised by the International Union of Psychological Sciences (IUPSyS) in collaboration with ICSU ROAP, the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk, International Centre of Excellence (IRDR-ICoE) of the Academy Located In Taipei, the Department of Psychology, University of the Philippines, Diliman and the Center for Applied Developmental Science (CADS), University of Jena. The United Nations University International Institute of Global Health (UNU IIGH) and the Chinese Psychological Society (CPS) are partners in organising the workshop. The Workshop is primarily intended for researchers, educators, and practitioners from Asia and the Pacific, who have an academic background, primarily in psychology and affiliated fields, and who are interested and experienced in research on psychosocial consequences of disasters and ways of science-based intervention.
More information about the Workshop and its application form is available from the links provided below.
The 16th Annual Conference of the Science Council of Asia (SCA) was held in Colombo from 30 May to 1 June 2016. The theme of the Conference was Science for the People: Mobilizing Modern Technologies for Sustainable Development in Asia. The three-day meeting was inaugurated by the Acting Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sri Lanka. In the opening session, Professor Yasuhiro Koike of Keio University gave a keynote lecture on the status of photonic polymers for high-speed and high-quality communication technologies. In addition 9 plenary presentations were made by invited speakers and more than 100 oral presentations on subjects ranging from nanotechnology, urban planning, gender and health were delivered by participants in a total of 14 separate parallel sessions . The SCA is a Regional Associate of ICSU. More information about the Conference may be obtained from the website of the National Academy of Sciences Sri Lanka the local host of the conference.
The International Council for Science (ICSU), Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (RCAP), held its 21sr meeting in Seoul on 27 April 2016. This meeting which was hosted by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) was especially significant as it was also attended for the first time by the President of ICSU Gordon McBean, the Director of the Future Earth Asia Hub in Tokyo, Fumiko Kasuga, and Soon-Chang Yoon, Vice President External Relations of KAST, as observers. Dr Kasuga is also a member of the Committee on Science Planning and Review (CSPR) of ICSU, the highest policy-making committee of ICSU. The RCAP agreed during the meeting inter alia to support plans by the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) to engage with the re-insurance industry in research on natural hazards and risk; to initiate the formation of a science planning group to explore research needs on the role of epigenetics on human health in the face of increasing urbanity in Asia and the Pacific; and on the importance of engaging with space agencies in the region to enhance data gathering capacity of the ROAP - RCAP initiated programme on the sustainability of the marginal seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA). The next meeting of RCAP will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in November 2016.
Soon-Chang Yoon Chair, Organizing Committee / Vice President for External Relations, KAST addressing the Symposium
Future Earth Korea was launched in a landmark event organised by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST), in Seoul Korea on Monday 25 April 2016, on the occasion of the 25th KAST International Symposium. The theme of the Symposium was Future Earth and Sustainable Development Goals in Asia. The event was graced by several prominent leaders including the President of KAST Professor Myung-Chul Lee, the President of the International Council for Science Professor Gordon McBean, and former Korean Prime Minister Dr Duck-Soo Han who is presently the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Climate Change Center of Korea. Future Earth is the new international platform for research on global sustainability developed by the International Council for Science and its partners. The ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) was instrumental in the move towards the establishment of Future Earth Korea, having laid the groundwork for its development during the 5th ICSU ROAP Regional Consultation in Asia and the Pacific themed “Future Earth in Asia and the Pacific”, that was held in Seoul in November 2013. In the beginning, the then Chair of ROAP’s Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (RCAP) Dr Hong-Kum Lee, and RCAP current member Professor Jung-Hye Roe were the prime movers for the establishment of Future Earth Korea. They have both been made members of the National Committee of Future Earth Korea.The establishment of Future Earth Korea is fully supported by KAST and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Korea.
The full programme of the launch may be downloaded from the link provided below.
The ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) published its Annual Report for the year 2015 today. The report notes the many contributions of ROAP in the development of Future Earth in Asia, its continuing major role in the development of scientific understanding of natural hazards and risk, its contribution to the growth of research expertise on psychological intervention after disasters, and of the use of the systems approach in research on urban health and well-being. Copies of the report may be downloaded from the link provided below.
SIMSEA held its 4th Science Steering Committee (SSC) meeting at the SIMSEA Regional Office that is hosted by the Marine Science Institute (MSI) of the University of the Philippines, Diliman on 21 and 22 March 2016. The meeting was attended by all members of the SSC and it welcomed the new Director of the MSI, Professor Fernando Siringan to the Committee as ex-officio member. It took note of progress in the development of SIMSEA and congratulated Professor Fadzilah Majid Cooke on the launch of the SIMSEA research group which she leads, at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. A draft SIMSEA charter was discussed and the possibility of creating the SIMSEA Research Fellowship was explored. The fellowship aims to provide support to early career scientists to conduct transdisciplinary research in the region of the marginal seas of Asia. The meeting also supported plans to conduct a capacity development workshop during the 2nd half of 2016 to enhance the ability of scientists in the region to plan and conduct transdisciplinary research on the subject of the sustainability of marginal seas in Asia and the Pacific.SIMSEA will hold a regional symposium in September 2016 inter alia to support knowledge needs for sustainability in the region of the marginal seas of Asia, and to consolidate research efforts towards sustainability in the marginal seas.
The Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) launched the SIMSEA Research Group on 11 March 2016. By doing so UMS joins other institutional partners in Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines in undertaking research to generate policy and community-relevant knowledge towards sustainable development in the region. SIMSEA which stands for The Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia is an international programme initiated by the International Council for Science Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) through an alliance of natural and social scientists working with development planners, managers, local communities and other sectors of society to conduct solutions oriented transdisciplinary research for global sustainability (see http://simseaasiapacific.org/). The collaboration emerged as a project designed in response to Future Earth, the newly established international platform for research on global sustainability. SIMSEA's regional office is hosted by the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines in Manila. The transdiciplinary research platform has a two-pronged objective::
- Co-designing an integrative programming that would establish the sustainability of the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia, and
- Facilitating cooperation among researchers in closing the gaps in scientific knowledge, through projects and programmes, for the benefit of societies.
For the period of 2015-2020, the key research topics are as follows:
- coastal and marine ecosystem services sustainability, as well as the cumulative effects of extreme changes
- weather patterns particularly on humans and livelihoods.
- the relationships between rapid urbanization and marine pollution associated with changing urban and rural landscapes.
- monitoring of tipping point and resilience of marginal seas in relation to global change.
- the impacts of economic growth on socio-economic and environmental well being,
- the mechanisms to define balance, trade-offs and cultural bottom lines in resource use.
- Indicators for ocean health in different regions; and
- cultural and other determinants of unity and wise use of resources
- ecologically coherent networks of locally managed marine areas including Marine Protected Areas
- co-developing and co-learning, while fostering ocean views among planners, users and managers.
The UMS SIMSEA Research Group is led by Professor Fadzilah Majid-Cooke. Several researchers from the centres of excellence and faculties of UMS are members in this new research platform.
SIMSEA will hold a regional research symposium in September 2016 (http://simseaasiapacific.org/call-for-session-proposals-simsea-regional-symposium-2016-on-26-28-september-2016-at-quezon-city-philippines/) to bring together scientists and the development community to explore potential research collaboration and the establishment of a knowledge action network for the region.
ICSU ROAP and its partners cordially invite participants to the SIMSEA Regional Symposium 2016 to be held on 26- 28 September 2016 at Microtel by Wyndham, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. SIMSEA, the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia is a new research programme that is being developed to enhance research for global sustainability in the marginal seas of Asia and the Pacific. The Symposium will be hosted by the SIMSEA Regional Programme, the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines-Diliman (MSI UP Diliman), and SIMSEA Philippines.MSI UP Diliman hosts the Programme Office of SIMSEA..
The 3-day symposium will include invited talks in plenary and presentations by regional scientists in 3 parallel symposia sessions. Proposals to convene symposia sessions are invited from scientists, policy- and decision-makers and community-based organizations currently active in research in the region of the marginal seas of Asia and the Pacific. All submissions will be peer-reviewed prior to acceptance. Selected conveners of symposia sessions especially those from developing countries will be eligible to apply for travel support to participate in the Symposium.
The deadline for submission of Symposia Session Proposals is May 31, 2016. For further information please visit the following link to the first Announcement of the Symposium (1st SIMSEA Regional Symposium 2016_1st Announcement_ver4).
The Steering Group on Natural Hazards and Risk (SGHNR) of ICSU ROAP met in Kuala Lumpur on 23 and 24 February 2016. The Group is chaired by James Terry, Professor at Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has 4 other members and welcomed its new Senior Advisor, Richard Sanders from Willis Re, Singapore. Nordin Hasan, the Director of ICSU ROAP is an ex officio member of the group.
The members reported on the outcomes of the conferences and meetings attended and also on the research activity and recent publications. The meeting also discussed on funding possibilities for research and activities, how to increase the Group's participation in future conferences and workshops related to Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction and recruitment of new members into the Steering Group. Nigel who joined the meeting via skype updated on the recent developments in the insurance / reinsurance industry.