The Steering Group on Natural Hazards and Risk (SGNHR) of ICSU ROAP met in Kuala Lumpur on 24 and 25 February 2015. The Group is chaired by James Terry, Professor at Zayed University. Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has 4 other members, Kruawun Jankaew (Chulalongkorn University), Nigel Spear (SCOR), James Goff (University of New South Wales) and Jianxin Zhang (Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science). Nigel joined the meeting briefly through Skype. Nordin Hasan the Director of ICSU ROAP is an ex officio member of the group. High on the agenda of the meeting are the participation of the SGNHR in the 4th International Tsunami Field Symposium (http://www.geo.sc.chula.ac.th/itfs2015/index.html) which will be held in March 2015 in Thailand, and on the role that the Steering Group would play in the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (http://www.wcdrr.org/) that will be held in Sendai, Japan, also in March 2015. The Steering Group discussed in detail steps that would be taken to enhance ties with catastrophe assessment needs of the Asian re-insurance industry.The SGNHR has also been successful in securing funding to support a two-year research project on coastal hazards in South-East Asia from Zayed University where the Chair is based. Additional funds from the National University of Singapore have also been committed for the project in its first year (2015)
The Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok will be organising the 4th International Tsunami Field Symposium, on 23 - 27 March 2015 in Phuket Thailand. The symposium is held once in 3 to 5 years to disseminate the science of tsunamis and integrate scientific findings with disaster mitigation. The organisers invite you to participate and share your research findings and views regarding tsunami science, technology and disaster mitigation. The major topics of the symposium are as follows;
- Science: Tectonophysics, impact to marine and coastal ecosystem, sedimentology and geomorphology
- Technology: Modeling and assessing hazards, risk evaluation damage estimation and detection, remote sensing and GIS
- Disaster Mitigation: Structural and non-structural countermeasures, disaster, preparedness and education
More information about the symposium may be found at http://www.geo.sc.chula.ac.th/itfs2015/introduction/index.html
The ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is an organising partner of the symposium.
The Steering Committee of the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA) met in Kuala Lumpur on 10 and 11 February to further develop the agenda for research in the marginal seas of Asia. The Committee is chaired by Professor Lourdes Cruz of the National Research Council of the Philippines and has four other members. SIMSEA is a research programme being developed by the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) and its partners, the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. The programmed is framed as a regional initiative of Future Earth, the new 10-year international research platform on global sustainability (http://www.futureearth.org/). At the centre of the discussion is the findings of the SIMSEA research prioritization workshop held in Manila in November last year (http://www.icsu.org/asia-pacific/news-centre/news/latest-simsea-research-scoping-workshop-held-in-manila). The meeting recognised the need to enhance the co-design of solutions oriented research on sustainability in the marginal seas of South and East Asia and to engage with and involve larger numbers of researchers from the social sciences, especially in the design and conduct of research on transformations towards sustainability. The Committee recognised that the marginal seas of Asia will come under more severe pressure as the region further develops. It is optimistic that with greater knowledge and understanding from integrated multidisciplinary research, development in the region and that of the world as a whole, can stay within the planetary boundaries. A "kick-off" meeting of SIMSEA is planned to be held towards the end of the year.
The Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science (better known as the SAKURA Exchange Program in Science) successfully hosted the visit to Japan of 10 young scientists from five countries in Asia (China, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, The Philippines, and Vietnam). The program is aimed at enhancing scientific exchange between Asia and Japan among youths who will have a more central role in the future of science and technology in their own countries. The exchange was coordinated by the Research Institute for Nature and Humanity (RIHN) a Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) institute based in Kyoto. The theme of this year’s programme was “Transformations toward Sustainability: Voices of Early-Career Asian Scholars”. Participants had to make a presentation of their work and experience of the topic. They visited the International Digital Earth Applied Science Research Center (IDEAS) at Chubu University near Nagoya, and participated in a dialogue on “Issues facing rural Japan: Local Eco-branding COOL VEGE & Micro-hydro Installation”, following an excursion to farm sites in Kameoka in Northern Kyoto. ICSU ROAP is a “sending organization” to the Programme.
Submissions of abstracts are invited for the forthcoming conference on spatial statistics that will be held in Avignon, France from 8-12 June 2015. Abstracts must reach organisers by 13 February 2015.
Spatial statistics is a rapidly developing field involving the quantitative analysis of spatial data and the statistical modelling of spatial variability and uncertainty. Spatial statistics is of critical importance to the use and interpretation of VGI, webservices, remotely sensed data and further processing within a GIS environment. Applications of spatial statistics are for a broad range of environmental disciplines (agriculture, geology, soil science, hydrology, ecology, oceanography, forestry, meteorology and climatology) as well as for socio-economic disciplines (human geography, spatial econometrics, epidemiology and spatial planning). The availability of GIS systems and affordable geospatial databases has fuelled the interest in the statistical analysis of geographic data. The theme, Emerging Patterns in Spatial Statistics will highlight trends on various topics such as ‘new sources of spatial data’, ‘predictive modelling’, ‘disease mapping’, ‘hazards, disasters and risks’, ‘climate change’ and ‘tipping points’.
The conference is a significant opportunity for participants to hear from leading scientists in the field and to network with colleagues in industry and academia to keep abreast of recent developments in this fast evolving field.
- Space-time statistics (e.g. point patterns models, estimation methods, large dimensions, scale issues)
- Spatial data quality and uncertainty
- Parameter estimation in PDEs
- Stochastic geometry, tesselation, point processes, random sets
- Spatial econometrics
- New spatial data sources (e.g. big, data, social media, Google, citizen science, crowd source maps)
- Image analyses (e.g. satellite images time series, DNA data, nano particles, nervous systems)
- Predictive modelling
- Tipping points (e.g. sea-level rise, socio-economic shifts)
- Hazards, disasters and risks (e.g. tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, air pollution levels)
- Global change (e.g. stochastic weather generators)
- Health, medical and epidemiology
- Plant and animal epidemiology (emerging epidemics)
- Ecology (e.g. dispersion, migration, colonisation and invasion of species)
More information about the conference and details about abstract submission and registration may be found at the conference website http://www.spatialstatisticsconference.com/index.html
Professor Toshio Yamagata, a member of the ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU RCAP) has been named the recipient of the Prince Albert I Medal for the year 2015. The award has been made in recognition of his ground-breaking work and exceptional contribution to the understanding of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and the newly discovered Indian Ocean Dipole. Prof. Yamagata who is Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo and Director of Application Laboratory, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), is a pioneer and leader in ocean-atmosphere interaction dynamics. He has made ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of climate variability. In his early career he made fundamental contributions to this emerging field of research and introduced the concept of coupled ocean-atmospheric instability. He showed that when the two media meet, their interaction gives rise to new instabilities that in many aspects, resemble El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In a landmark paper in Nature in 1999, he and his research group published a seminal paper entitled “A dipole mode in tropical Indian Ocean” that has fundamentally changed our understanding of the role of the Indian Ocean in climate variability. This work essentially created a new subfield of tropical climate research and laid the foundation for seasonal climate predictions in the Indian Ocean. Prof Yamagata is currently a member of the ICSU RCAP Steering Committee of a new initiative known as the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA). This programme is being developed by ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) and the RCAP and it partners. It will seek to address science, technology, management and sustainability issues in the marginal seas of Asia in the framework of the 10-year research programme under the new international platform for research on global sustainability, Future Earth (http://www.futureearth.org). More information about the award may also be found at the following website http://iapso.iugg.org/medals-and-awards/the-prince-albert-I-medal
Participants in discussion with subject specialists Barry Newell and Katrina Proust. Professor Shen is at extreme left.
ICSU ROAP and its partners, the Institute of Urban Environment (IUE), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the newly established International Programme Office on Urban Health and Wellbeing is conducting a systems thinking workshop for a team of Chinese researchers on 11 and 12 December 2014, in Xiamen, China where the IUE is located. This will be the last activity organised by ICSU ROAP for 2014. A group at IUE, led by Professor Heqing Shen, is developing an urban air quality and public health pilot project that will adopt the systems approach. The workshop will build on an earlier systems thinking workshop that ICSU ROAP held in Kuala Lumpur in January 2013. The workshop will also introduce the new ICSU-UNU-IAMP International Programme on urban health and wellbeing, with its systems thinking and system dynamics approach, to a wider group of scientists. It will focus on the interplay between urban design, environment, and population health and wellbeing. It will encourage systems thinking, and provide an opportunity to practise system-analysis skills. The workshop will help participants build skills in the design of systems projects, facilitate co-production of knowledge, and strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration. These are essential elements in efforts to improve decision-making and to link policy with science.
Workshop participants, faculty and volunteers pose with President SWUST Mianyang, Sichuan, China,December 2014
The International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) and partners are conducting a workshop on psychological intervention after disasters (PIAD) on 8 – 11 December 2014 in Mianyang, China. The workshop is a continuation of the series of similar workshops* dealing with psychological research and practice concerning disasters, and how individuals and communities deal with disasters and its effects on their biopsychosocial well-being. It is organized by IUPsyS and its partners, the Chinese Psychological Society, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the International Council for Science, Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific (ICSU ROAP), the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU/IIGH), the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk International Centre of Excellence (IRDR ICoE) located in Taipei and the Center for Applied Developmental Science (CADS), Friedrich Schiller University, Jena. The workshop is funded mainly by the Jacobs Foundation, Zurich (http://jacobsfoundation.org/who-we-are/) with in-kind and other contributions from partners. The workshop is hosted at the Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang, Sichuan Province, China www.english.swust.edu.cn/s/198/t/623/p/1/c/2836/d/2854/list.htm
The workshop will bring up-to-date relevant basic and applied science to young investigators and academically trained practitioners of psychology in Asia and the Pacific. An international faculty from various fields of psychology who are experts in their fields will provide lectures and guidance during the workshop. Lecture topics will include a combination of basic, applied, and translational research related to short and long-term consequences of disasters for human behavior and development in adolescence and adulthood, addressing not only negative effects but also posttraumatic growth. Participants will be introduced to cutting edge research concerning the role of specific contexts such as family and community, to particular manifestations of strain such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to various means of evidence-based preventive means and interventions to support recovery. A prime emphasis will be on the cultural awareness needed when generalizing scientific approaches, and on roots of individual and collective differences in responses to disasters, such as personality and resilience. The sessions will emphasize methodological rigor as a common denominator of all science, including information on longitudinal research on survivors of disasters and the analysis of randomized control trials and other ecologically feasible methodologies.
*Past Workshop reports: http://www.iupsys.net/events/capacity-building-workshops/index.html
A workshop to scope SIMSEA activities in its initial year was launched on 19 November 2014. The two-day workshop is hosted by the Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Prior to the workshop a questionnaire survey was conducted by the organisers to identify priorities for research under the programme. The prioritization process followed the method described in Sutherland et al. (2011). The questionnaire was administered among stakeholders of the marginal seas to survey research priorities in the physical, ecological, and social sciences that need to be investigated in response to the needs of society. The topics would fit under the sub-themes of Future Earth i.e. A Dynamic Planet; Global Development; and Transformations to Sustainability. The results of the survey was deliberated during the workshop involving about 20 thought leaders familiar with past and on-going research in the SIMSEA region. The workshop programme may be downloaded from the link below.
A systems thinking training workshop was held at the Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica (http://www.sinica.edu.tw/main_e.shtml) over the last two days (9 and 10 November 2014). It was co-organised by the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) in collaboration with the academy's Research Center for Sustainability Science and Research Center for Environmental Changes. The workshop aims to build capacity in the design and conduct of cross-sector collaboration on urban health research. Opened by Academician Dr C. H. Liu of Academia Sinica the workshop brings together researchers from public health sciences, urban planning and land-use, and from the environmental sciences to learn of the system approach to urban health planning, research and management. They were introduced inter alia to systems thinking tools, pair-blending techniques, and system archetype modelling, and how to capture cross-sector feedback and build shared understanding of urban issues important for sustainability. A pilot research project on urban health and wellbeing using the systems approach has been developed and participants will be given a briefing of the opportunities and likely barriers to integrated research through cross-sector collaborations for urban health in Taipei.
The IMBER IMBIZO lV workshop will be held in Trieste, Italy from 26-30 October 2015: The theme of the workshop is Marine and human systems: Addressing multiple scales and multiple stressors
IMBIZO is particularly relevant to the research community that is currently developing and will engage in the SIMSEA programme in Asia and the Pacific. As mentioned in the call,the challenge for ensuring sustainable governance of marine ecosystems and human societies in the future is the development of systems level understanding of the effects of global change at multiple scales.
IMBIZO IV will explore the interactions of multiple drivers and stressors at different spatial and temporal scales. Of interest will be the global implications of the responses of marine biogeochemistry, ecosystems, and social and governance structures observed at these different spatial and temporal scales.
Members of the research community are invited to submit proposals for the three workshops that will be organised. Please include a title, short description of the workshop topic, including key points that address the overall IMBIZO theme, and the name of the convenor/conveners for the workshop. The proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee and notifications of successful proposals will sent by mid-December 2014.
Please send workshop proposals to Lisa Maddison (firstname.lastname@example.org) before 24 November 2014.
Details for the workshop is given in the attached call for workshop proposals.
This four-day conference will be held in advance of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) which will be hosted by France in December 2015. The Conference will address key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. It is being organized under the auspices of ICSU, Future Earth, UNESCO and major French research institutions. The objectives of the Conference are as follows:
1 - Provide state-of-the-art scientific knowledge on climate change, one year after the release of IPCC AR5
2 - Explore the range of pathways combining climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development.
3 - Assess the potential for evidence-based solutions to climate change challenges
4 - Contribute to a science-society dialogue
The Conference will emphasise exploring climate change issues through transdisciplinary and integrative approaches. It will underscore the need for solutions that cut across sectors and systems and that join stakeholders and communities. The Conference sessions encourage multi-disciplinary and multi-lateral thinking to explore the wide range of topics that cut across climate change issues, from physical feedbacks to social and economic impacts. The Conference sessions will offer a broad base for examining issues related to the complex and inter-related science-human aspects of climate change.
For more information on how to participate, please visit http://commonfuture-paris2015.org
The Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) which is the annual gathering of the international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research will be held in Toyama, Japan from 23 to 30 April 2015. The summit provides opportunities for scientists, students, policy makers and other professionals to interact in all areas of Arctic science. The summit week will include business meetings of the participating organizations (23 – 25 April), excursions and a public lecture (26 April) and a four-day symposium (27-30 April). The call for abstracts for oral and poster presentations at the Fourth International Symposium on Arctic Research (ISAR‐4) is now open. This Symposium will address the overarching theme “Rapid change of the Arctic climate system and its global influence”. Abstracts are also called for the Third International Conference on the Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III). The theme of this year’s conference is “Integrating Arctic Research: a roadmap for the future. Full details of the symposium and conference may be obtained from the brochure of the summit below.
A one-day planning meeting to discuss networking frameworks for Future Earth in Asia and the Pacific was held on 1 October 2014 at the Center for Sustainability Science, Academy of Sciences located in Taipei. The meeting was attended by 15 scientists from Taiwan and elsewhere. Presiding was Professor Tetsuzo Yasunari, Director of the Kyoto-based Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN) who is also Chair of the Future Earth National Committee in Japan, and Member Future Earth (International) Science Committee. Other than Japan and Taiwan, participants included scientists from Australia, India, Korea, and Malaysia who are closely associated with the development of Future Earth in the Asia Pacific region. It was acknowledged at the end of the meeting that it provided much needed discussion on desirable optimum conditions for networking of individuals and organizations that will contribute to timely development of Future Earth in the region. Members of an interim Asia Regional Committee of Future Earth were also identified at the meeting. The development of Future Earth in Asia and the Pacific will be further discussed in a Future Earth meeting that will be organised by RIHN in January next year.
The Institute for Environment and Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (LESTARI) and its partners, the United Nations University Institute for Global Health (UNU/IIGH) and the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP), will organise a workshop in Kuala Lumpur on 29 and 30 October 2014, on the co-production of knowledge for global health challenges. The workshop is the third in the series of Executive Workshops organised by LESTARI. It will introduce transdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approaches to complex sustainable development issues that cannot be fully understood by mono-disciplinary studies. Up to 20 decision-makers and researchers with diverse backgrounds from the private and public sectors, non-governmental organizations, academics and journalists will be brought together for dialogue and discussions on the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable development. Differences between multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary contributions will be explained. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the relationship between sustainable development and urban health, and learn methods, techniques and processes for collaborative research and decision-making. Details on how to apply for the workshop is given in the downloadable brochure below.
The 7th South China Sea Tsunami Workshop (SCSTW-7) will be held on November 17-22, 2014 at National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan, China. The Beijing International Center for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (BICTAM) can provide partial financial support for bona fide students and young scientists from Asia-Pacific region, in need of financial support to attend SCSTW-7.
Support can include a waiver of the registration fee for the workshop.
To apply for this support please send your curriculum vitae and letter of recommendation along with the following:
•Title, abstract and author of your proposed presentation
•Request for waiver of registration fee
Applications should be sent to email@example.com and must be received by October 30, 2014 at:
For further information please contact with Ms. Xiaoyan Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More information about the workshop may be obtained from the SCSTW-7′s website http://tsunami.ihs.ncu.edu.tw/~scstw/2014/
Dr Hong Kum Lee, Chair of the ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) presented her report of the work of ICSU ROAP for the period 2012 to 2014 to the 31st ICSU General Assembly in Auckland, New Zealand on the last day of the Assembly (3 September 2014). In her presentation she described the many achievements of ROAP in the four priority areas described in the 2nd ICSU Strategic Plan viz. hazards and disasters, urban health and wellbeing, sustainable energy, and ecosystems. She also outlined other activities undertaken by ROAP to support the goals of ICSU. This included the key role that ROAP played in the development of Future Earth in Asia, and the partner organizations that has made possible the achievements of ROAP. This included inter alia the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study (MAIRS), the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), the United Nations University International Institute of Global Health (UNU/IIGH), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). The full report to the General Assembly by Roap and Dr Lee's presentation may be downloaded from the links provided below.
We are pleased to announce that ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) has been successful in being selected, in partnership with the Kyoto-based Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (RIHN), as a Sending Organization for the Sakura International Exchange Program in Science (http://ssp.jst.go.jp/EN/outline/index.html#M1) . The main aim of the program is to enable young scientists (less than 40 years old) from countries in Asia, to visit Japan to collaboratively develop ideas about research, and exchange relevant knowledge with Japanese scientists. The main function of the Sending Organization will be recommending researchers as participants of this program. The focus of the next exchange visit which will be in January 2015 is Future Earth the new international platform for research on global sustainability. Successful applicants will also be expected to attend, as part of the exchange, the 3rd International Workshop on Future Earth in Asia, that will be organized and hosted by RIHN.
The ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) Annual Report 2013 has been published and is downloadable from the link provided here. In her message the Chair of the Committee noted that more than ten meetings were organised in Asia and the Pacific in 2013, to build a research community that was sensitive to Future Earth and could effectively develop strategies to begin to implement the initiative in the region. She also mentioned the new Future Earth initiative called the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of East Asia (SIMSEA) that ROAP is developing.
The 18th Meeting of the ICSU Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (RCAP) will be held in Auckland New Zealand on 27 and 28 August 2014, just prior to the 31st ICSU General Assembly on 30 August to 3 September 2014. The meeting will be attended by all Committee members. A full agenda has been prepared and matters to be discussed include that related to the progress of the work of ICSU ROAP in its priority areas viz. hazards and disasters, urban health and wellbeing; sustainable energy, and ecosystems. Reports from the global secretariat of ICSU and the ICSU Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean will also be tabled at the meeting. Of particular interest to Asia and the Pacific is the development of work related to the new international platform for research on global sustainability, Future Earth. ROAP is developing a programme known as the Sustainability Initiative in the Marginal Seas of East Asia (SIMSEA) as part of its activity on Future Earth. A visit to the Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland laboratories in Leigh has been arranged for all committee members. The Director of the Institute Professor Simon Thrush will be at hand to brief the Committee on research at the Institute and together the group will discuss how to build effective links to Future Earth in the region.