L J Cruz*
*Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman, Velasquez St., Quezon City 1101 Philippines


In behalf of the ICSU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU ROAP) and the Regional Committee for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU RCAP), we are happy to welcome you to the WDS Asia Oceania Conference 2017. Perhaps not all of you know about ROAP and RCAP, so please allow me to tell you about them.

ICSU has 26 member-countries in Asia and the Pacific region. Its regional office (ICSU ROAP) has been hosted by the Academy of Science Malaysia (ASM) since 2006 in Kuala Lumpur, where it is headed by a Director. Twice a year the ROAP convenes a meeting of the regional committee (ICSU RCAP) to discuss and decide on matters related to the priorities, activities, plans and budget as well as other issues relevant to ICSU concerns. The committee, RCAP consists of nine representatives from member countries and four ex-officio members including the ROAP Director, the ICSU Executive Director, an ICSU Executive Board Liaison, and a representative of ASM.

Currently, ROAP has three priority areas: a) Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk; b) Urban Health and Well-Being, focusing on Epigenetics; and Ecosystems that focuses on the Sustainability Initiatives in the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA). Although WDS is not specifically mentioned in its priorities, ROAP has been involved through support and participation in events organized by WDS and CODATA. ROAP abides by the advisory note on “Sharing Scientific Data, with a Focus on Developing Countries” issued in 2011 by the ICSU Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the Conduct of Science (CFRS). In Asia and the Pacific, WDS has eight members in China, three in Japan, two in Australia, one in Taiwan and one in India; it has no members in Southeast Asia. Among the hindrances to joining WDS given by some representatives of Southeast Asian countries are the need to get permission from government agencies for security reasons, the need to clarify with collaborating countries, and poor internet infrastructure. In addition to organizations involved in weather prediction, oceanographic data, hazards and risk assessments, those concerned with biodiversity assessment and conservation should be encouraged to join WDS. Among these are the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, hosted by the University of the Philippines in Los Banes and the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines.


The assistance of Tengku-Sharizad Tengku-Dahlan, Officer-in-Charge of ICSU ROAP in providing information about ROAP activities over the years is gratefully acknowledged.