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Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research

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APN 16th Steering Committee Meeting Convenes 30-31 August 2010, Kobe, Japan

With the active participation of the Steering Committee (SC) Members and the effective work of the Chair, Mr. Suho Seong, the 16th SC Meeting successfully convened in Kobe, Japan 30-31 August 2010.

Mr. Suho Seong, nFP for the Republic of Korea (ROK) opened the 16th SC Meeting and gave short remarks. A one-minute silence was observed to respect the nFP for Thailand, Dr. Saksit Tridech who died in a helicopter accident on 17 August 2010. This was followed by welcome remarks from Mr. Shingo Kawasaki, Director Policy Division, Environmental Development Bureau, Agricultural and Environmental Affairs Department, Hyogo Prefectural Government, Japan. He welcomed the participants and expressed profound gratitude for the efforts and cooperation of the SC Members in steering the APN. The Hyogo Prefectural Government assured its continuous support and partnership with APN. The Secretariat Director, Mr. Tetsuro Fujitsuka also gave short remarks expressing sincere thanks to all the SC Members for their valuable input and contributions in the continued success of the APN.

Active discussions transpired during the Meeting that touched on the following: Summary of Activities/Action Points since the 16th IGM/SPG Meeting; Financial Report; Membership and Network Development; Resources Development; Updates on the Call for Proposals for Focussed Activities; Progress on the Climate Synthesis; Scientific Capacity Building for Climate Impact and Vulnerability Assessments (SCBCIA) Project Updates; Annual Regional Call for Research Proposal (ARCP) and the Scientific Capacity Building/Enhancement for Sustainable Development in Developing Countries (CAPaBLE) Programme Updates; Interaction with Science-Policy Bodies; APN Data Sharing and Management; Policy on Conflicts of Interest; Communications and Outreach; Major Events to April 2011 and APN Engagement; Operating Plan; 16th IGM/SPG Meeting Preparations; and Host of the 17th IGM/SPG Meeting.

The SC provided constructive discussion and strategic guidance on the specific actions that need to be taken as well as the priority areas for the period of the 3rd strategic phase (2010-2015). To ensure the effective implementation of activities outlined in the 3rd Strategic Plan (3SP) under the two main agendas (Science Agenda and Institutional Agenda), the SC discussed in length the short-, mid- and long-term action and strategies of the APN Annual Operating Plan. The APN will explore new and more dynamic approaches based on the strategic mechanisms that are currently in place under the two strong pillars of APN’s activities: the APN’s research (ARCP) and capacity development (CAPaBLE) Programmes.

As part of the review of the APN’s Institutional Policy on Data and Data Management and on Reviewer Conflict of Interest, feedback from the SPG Members was presented to the SC. The timeline for the offline discussion and further review was revised to accommodate further input from the SC and to assure that all members will have the opportunity to comment before endorsement of these policies is sought at the 16th IGM. The SPG Co-Chairs and the Secretariat will work closely together to finalise the policies that will be circulated to APN members for their comments.

A number of suggestions were solicited from the SC to address resources development, which is crucial in managing the currently available funds as well as increasing the core budget to support new initiatives, sustain the grants that are awarded to projects and expand its activities in the Asia-Pacific region. To facilitate the process of devising a robust resources development strategy, an ad hoc committee was formed composing of the SPG Co-Chairs, nFP’s for Japan and U.S.A, the nFP/SPG Member for New Zealand, Prof. Roland Fuchs (SC invited expert) and with support from the Secretariat. The ad hoc committee will look into diversifying and mobilising the resources of APN through direct financial and in-kind contributions from the Governments of APN member countries and financial support from potential external sources such as foundations, funding agencies, and the private sector.

The Meeting also discussed ways to establish strategic mechanisms and approaches to further strengthen the APN member countries ‘sense of ownership’ and engagement/involvement of member countries (particularly new and inactive members) and non-member countries/organisations in APN activities effectively and efficiently. Due to political sensitivity, extra caution is deemed necessary in addressing various issues under membership and network development; for example in reengaging involvement of inactive representatives or countries and in responding to non-member countries/organisations expressing interest to become actively engaged in APN activities.

Noteworthy is the successful conduct of the Climate Synthesis Workshop reported by the Secretariat at the Meeting. This is part of a two-year activity on Climate in Asia and the Pacific, synthesising the work of over 50 APN-funded climate-related projects. A draft Synthesis Report, written by the Climate Synthesis Team (group of reputable scientists from the region), was made available to the SC for comment. Two (2) more publications are expected to be produced as part of this activity: 1) a glossy publication that summarises the major outcomes of the synthesis, and 2) an academic book to provide input into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).

On Project Management and the APN Calls for Proposals, it was reported that seven (7) ongoing projects under SCBCIA are already providing significant results. The APN is also managing 35 new and continuing projects under the ARCP and CAPaBLE Programmes. The submission and review process under the new Focussed Activities launched in April, as well as the Annual Calls for Proposals (ARCP and CAPaBLE) are well in progress. Despite a fairly tight schedule, the SPG Sub-Committee (SPG-SC) and the Capacity Development Committee (CDC), with support from the Secretariat, are committed to ensure that the necessary outputs will be delivered as scheduled. Cooperation and expertise from the SPG and external reviewers are sought for an effective, efficient and transparent review process.

The SC appreciates the additional support from the Ministry of the Environment Japan (MOEJ) that helped realise the successful launch of the SCBCIA and the Special Call for Proposals. Seventy-five (75) Expressions of Interest were received for the two (2) Focussed Activities on: 1) Ecosystems, Biodiversity and Landuse; 2) Resources Utilisation and Pathways for Sustainable Development.

In advancing APN’s efforts in science-policy, it was stressed that it is crucial that APN continue to ensure that the results of appropriate APN-funded research are fed into the IPCC Assessment Reports. SC members also recognised the importance of sustained dialogue with the global change community on emerging scientific findings and other developments in climate change research, particularly those highlighted at sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). This is particularly relevant in ensuring that APN’s programmes and activities are aligned with other programmes of the global change community. The APN will continue to look for new opportunities in enhancing APN engagement with policy bodies, in cooperation with the global change research community and key partner organisations.

On the institutional side, the APN Financial Report 2009/2010 will be revised further to incorporate comments from the SC before being presented at the next IGM. Newly nominated nFPs and SPG Member following the 15th IGM/SPG Meeting in Busan will be welcomed at the 16th IGM/SPG Meeting in Colombo, including the representatives from Bhutan who were appointed for the first time. Preparations for the Sub-Regional Committee Meetings in South and Southeast Asia that will be held back-to-back with the Proposal Development Training Workshop are also well in progress.

A report on the status and plans in implementing the APN’s Communications Strategy (i.e. publications, website, database/electronic mailing list) was well received by the SC. The SC provided strategic direction for engaging in a number of major events that will be held in the near future such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10), the Annual Meeting of the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16/6th Conference of the Parties serving as the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6), and SBSTA33.

Another highlight for the SC at this meeting was the presence at the 16th SC Meeting of Mr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Advisor to the Minister, MOEJ, and one of the charter members of the APN. He was involved in the preparations and initial development of APN and one of the members of the first APN Interim Secretariat. Having witnessed how APN evolved since its conceptualisation, he expressed his great satisfaction on the accomplishments (both scientifically and institutionally) so far achieved by the network and in the significant developments of the APN through the years. Mr. Takemoto was co-opted by acclamation as an expert member of the APN Steering Committee.

With regards to updates on the preparations for the next IGM/SPG Meeting to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the host country representative offered full support and cooperation to realise a successful IGM/SPG Meeting. Sri Lanka will work very closely with the Secretariat to kick-off the local arrangements and set the final dates for the main IGM/SPG Meeting and the associated committee meetings.