Thailand hosts first ‘UN Decade of Ocean Science’ meeting

Thailand is known for sun, sea, sand – and science. The Kingdom hosted the first regional conference of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science last week as it continues to advocate for protecting ocean, marine and coastal resources in the western Pacific.

“Hosting the conference will help strengthen Thailand’s role as a regional leader in ocean conservation and in realizing the UN’s decade actions,” said Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

The conference is part of the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) proclamation of 2021-2030 as the “UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development,” launched globally on June 1 at a high-level online conference in Berlin.

The regional conference in the Kingdom drew representatives from 24 countries, with most of them participating virtually.

Thailand has been the flag bearer in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) for reducing and preventing plastic and other waste in the oceans and seas, forging a pact signed by all 10 member countries when the Kingdom chaired the group.

Researchers in Thailand are engaged in projects that monitor and measure ocean acidification and its effects on coral reefs, mangroves and their environmental impacts and other endeavors to learn more about oceans and the environment.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization) said that ocean science is dominated by a small number of advanced industrialized countries with research and development budgets for ocean sciences varying widely.

Nonetheless, it placed Thailand among the leaders in devoting increasing budget resources to ocean science.  The “blue economy” is important to Thailand, as its long coastlines along the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea have been a source of livelihoods for its people since time immemorial.

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