The Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) 15 th Inter-Governmental Meeting (IGM)/Scientific Planning Group (SPG) Meeting and associated committee meetings convened successfully at the APEC Climate Center (APCC), Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) on 15-19 March 2010 with around 60 participants. The meetings were hosted by the Ministry of Environment, ROK. Delegations from the APN member countries, invited experts in the field of global change, and representatives from key partner organisations discussed the activities to be undertaken and supported by the APN from April 2010 to March 2011 and beyond.
One of the major highlights of this year’s IGM is the endorsement of the APN’s 3 rd Strategic Plan (3SP) and the Evaluation Report (ER) of the review of the APN’s second strategic phase. Operating Plans will be devised to ensure the effective implementation of activities outlined under the 3SP’s two main agendas, Science Agenda and Institutional Agenda.
Another main outcome was the welcoming of Bhutan as a new member bringing the number of APN member countries to 22. A representative from National Environment Commission, Bhutan was invited to give a presentation on global change issues that Bhutan is currently working on and other major environment-related activities in the country.
This year’s IGM approved 36 projects for funding (continuing projects and new proposals) under the Annual Regional Call for Research Proposals (ARCP) and Scientific Capacity Building/Enhancement for Sustainable Development in Developing Countries (CAPaBLE) Programmes. Also very worth-noting is the endorsement of new activities under Scientific Research Themes 2 (Key Focus Areas: Forestry and REDD-Plus) and 4 (Key Focus Areas: global change implications of efficient resource utilisation and action to establish international sound material cycle society) of the APN’s 3SP. More information about these new activities in focused key areas and criteria for eligibility to receive funding will shortly be available on the APN website.
In strengthening collaboration with the Hyogo Prefectural Government, Japan, a number of activities were endorsed: 1) International Symposium and Public Dialogue on Biodiversity Issues synthesised over three (3) years of APN/Hyogo International Symposia; 2) Side Event at the Convention on Biological Diversity 10 th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10); and 3) Exhibit at CBD COP10.
The IGM also adopted a Resources Development Strategy and approved the Final Financial Report for 2008-2009 and the Budget Plan for 2010-2011. Japan confirmed its 50% increased contributions while ROK announced a tripled increase in contribution for APN activities.
The meeting also decided to continue its efforts in Sub-Regional Cooperation (SRC). The South Asia (SA) and Southeast (SEA) Asia Sub-Regional Committees had the opportunity to discuss relevant issues at the sub-regional level and their future plans and activities. Representatives of both sub-regional committees reported the results of their respective discussions to the IGM.
New members of the SPG Sub-Committee, Capacity Building Committee (CDC) and Steering Committee (SC) were also welcomed by all the members. The Secretariat will count on their guidance, expertise, input, support and cooperation in implementing the strategies outlined in the 3SP.
The Meeting announced the launching of the ‘new face’ of the APN website in April 2010 which is continuously being improved with advanced and dynamic features, enhanced interface and quick navigation. The members acknowledged the importance of the Strategic Information Plan that is being devised to help in implementing the APN’s Communications Strategy. This system will consist of four (4) major components: Web content management system; automated electronic mailing list; online library; and online collaboration and networking.
For the first time in the IGM history, a session was organised to provide the APN Membership, the global change (GC) community and the local science and policy communities in the host country a networking and informal dialogue opportunity. Eighteen (18) young scientists from ROK had the opportunity to display and present their research work via poster presentation to invited esteemed representatives of the scientific and policy communities from within and outside the Asia-Pacific region. APCC and the GC community also showcased their work to the APN Membership and local ROK young scientists through exhibits that displayed posters and relevant information materials. Of the 18 posters, the APN members selected the best one based on a set of criteria. The IGM Chair presented the winning scientist, Mr. Woo-Seop Lee, the Mitra Award for Global Change Research and Mr. Lee provided a 20-minute plenary presentation at the IGM.
The Climate Synthesis Working Group reported on the activities conducted to date and the timeline for synthesis completion, highlighting that two key products were expected: 1) A Synthesis Report targeted for decision-and policy-makers; and 2) an Academic Book largely consisting of peer-reviewed research papers. The synthesis will cover 55 projects funded by the APN under both its ARCP and CAPaBLE Programmes. Maintaining the current timeframe of the Climate Synthesis is deemed crucial in order to align with the timeframe of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).
A platform to introduce the concept of low carbon green growth and development policies in selected APN member countries and increase the dialogue and information sharing among the APN member countries and the GC Community in implementing low carbon green growth policies was provided through the Low Carbon Green Growth and Development Session. Delegates from Indonesia, Japan and ROK delivered presentations and shared the various related development policies in their respective countries which was followed by active discussion among the IGM participants.
The delegates were invited for a half-day study tour around Busan Metropolitan City which started from a traditional Korean dining experience and visit to Haedong Yong Kung Sa “East Ocean Dragon Temple,” overlooking the ocean and coastal City of Busan. The Busan Environmental Corporation (BECO) also toured the delegates to BECO’s Haeundae Comprehensive (sewage and incinerator) Processing Plants and to Haeundae Resource Energy Center.
Finally, the Government of Sri Lanka confirmed its willingness to host the 16 th IGM/SPG Meeting which was accepted by acclamation. The Proceedings of the Meeting will be made available on the APN website in due course. Meantime, the APN Secretariat would like to express its sincere gratitude to all who were involved in realising a very successful IGM/SPG Meeting.