Researcher Qiao Fangli Selected as Co-chair of UNESCO-IOC/WESTPAC

The Thirteenth Intergovernmental Session of the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC-XIII) was successfully held via video from April 27 to 29, 2021. According to the agenda, WESTPAC-XIII has re-elected chairman and vice-chairman of WESTPAC. On April 29, the China-recommended researcher Qiao Fangli from FIO, MNR was successfully selected as Chairman of WESTPAC.

In accordance with relevant regulations, the re-election of chairman and vice-chairman of WESTPAC is scheduled every two years. Chairman and vice-chairman of WESTPAC are mainly responsible for the holistic coordination within WESTPAC, participation in various activities held by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC) on behalf of WESTPAC, as well as organization and hosting of relevant international conferences of WESTPAC.

UNESCO-IOC is an autonomous intergovernmental functional organization under United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which specializes in marine scientific research, observation and service, and capacity building in the UN System. Established in 1989, WESTPAC is a regional branch of UNESCO-IOC for the Western Pacific Ocean and adjacent areas, which consists of 22 member countries, including countries from East Asia and Southeast Asia as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Its main functions are to implement projects of UNESCO-IOC for global marine science and observation service in the Western Pacific region, and to initiate, promote, and coordinate projects for marine science, observation service, and capacity training suitable for the region in accordance with the common interests of the member countries in the region. For a long time, China has been actively participating in the activities of UNESCO-IOC and WESTPAC, and has played an important role in both organizations.

In recent years, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the People's Republic of China has acted as the delegate of China to positively spur project reform of WESTPAC and take the lead to initiate a series of regional cooperation projects, such as the "Response of Marine Hazards to Climate Change in the Western Pacific (ROSE)", "Ocean Forecast System for Southeast Asia Areas (OFS)", and "Monsoon Onset Monitoring and its Social and Ecosystem Impacts (MOMSEI)". Meanwhile, the Ministry of Natural Resources has undertaken training sessions for the first training and research center of UNESCO-IOC — UNESCO/IOC Regional Training and Research Center on Ocean Dynamics and Climate (ODC); has cultivated more than 400 trainees for 43 countries in the field of ocean and climate over the past decade. The Ministry of Natural Resources has made remarkable contributions to the marine scientific and technological cooperation in the Western Pacific region.

Researcher Qiao Fangli, as a world-renowned oceanographer, has taken the lead to initiate and implement such influential projects as ROSE and OFS, and has been serving as Director of the ODC Center. In 2014, he was granted the "Worcester Award", which marks the top award of North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and the first "Distinguished Scientist Award" of WESTPAC; in 2016, he was nominated for the highest award, "Gordon Bell Prize" in the international field of high-performance computing applications; in 2017, he was elected as Vice-chairman of WESTPAC; at present, he serves as Editor-in-chief of the international high-end academic journal, Ocean Modelling. As a leader in the development of the international ocean coupled model, Qiao Fangli was selected into the Executive Planning Group of United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (19 members worldwide in total) in 2018.