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ST Conference Report—April 2010 Issue

PACON 22nd International Conference

The 22nd international conference of the Pacific Congress on Marine Science and Technology (PACON) will be held from Tuesday, June 1 to Saturday, June 5 at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo (UH Hilo), on the Big Island of Hawai'i. The overarching theme of PACON 2010 will be using international partnerships in marine science and technology as vehicles for improving Pacific Rim relations and resource management, conference organizers said.

International Cooperation
In the spirit of the conference theme, PACON 2010 has been jointly organized by Dr. Michael P. Crosby of UH Hilo, Dr. DanLing Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences South China Sea Institute of Oceanology and Dr. Wei-Hsien Wang of Taiwan's National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, in consultation with the international membership of the PACON board of directors.

There are a number of successful international marine science partnerships and specific models that should be considered for implementation in other regions of the world, the organizers said. Often, such partnerships developed between nations are built upon a long history of close ties and cooperative relationships, but marine science partnerships have been demonstrated to not only support the conduct of excellence in cooperative research, but also to serve as vehicles for improving relationships between nations, they continued.

When marine science partnerships are developed and implemented between nations or states having limited relationships, these partnerships may be viewed as 'confidence building measures,' the organizers said. They continued that the extended premise is that joint acquisition and distribution of knowledge through international marine science partnerships serve to bring transparency to what may otherwise be opaque relationships between nations.

International marine science partnerships can also lead to an ever-expanding circle of issues that build constituencies by broadening the numbers and types of participants, including governments and nongovernmental organizations, according to the organizers. The partnerships tend to include an array of scientific, technical, environmental, ecological, legal, administrative and economic interests. The involvement of all of these interests has a progressive effect, helping to improve foreign relations between governments and build goodwill between peoples of different nations, the organizers said.

PACON said it is dedicated to sharing scientific and technical information on the world's oceans and coastal regions to advance marine science and technology and their utilization in ocean policy formation and the sustainable development of the world's oceans, and the organization carries out this mission through education and public programs.

PACON was organized by a diverse group of scientists and engineers in 1982 to conduct international conferences on marine science, technology and policy, specifically oriented toward Pacific Rim nations. Each conference has successfully demonstrated an international interest in collaborating on ocean issues that involve the Pacific Rim, the organizers said. These conferences attract scientists, engineers, technologists, policy-makers and students interested in advancing state-of-the-art marine science and technology, as well as its appropriate applications, to the nations of the Pacific Rim, they continued.

PACON said it represents the interests of all institutions, nations and states who conduct research in, or are engaged with managing the resources of, the broad Indo-Pacific marine realm. The organization said it recognizes that while the peoples, institutions and governments in this region have unique cultures and challenges, all share common resources and problems. Marine science and technology can provide common solutions to many of these problems, PACON said.

For example, the Pacific region harbors some of the greatest natural risks from volcanism, earthquakes and tsunamis in the world. In addition, key coastal areas and Pacific islands are at risk from sea level rise resulting from global warming, PACON said. The intense commerce and rapid development in the region, in the face of unprecedented environmental threats, demand innovative and transdisciplinary approaches to address these challenges, said the conference organizers. PACON 2010 will serve as an effective mechanism for information exchange among diverse groups from government, industry and academia, they continued.

Conference Participation
PACON said it encourages all interested parties to participate in PACON 2010 by contributing oral presentations on aspects of marine science, technology, resource management, engineering, policy-making and education that address some facet of ongoing or proposed international partnerships within or impacting the Pacific Rim. Specific highlighted session topics will range from climate change to marine debris, seaport engineering to coral reef ecology, marine fisheries management to sustainable energy production, and local community outreach to development of national and international policies related to the Pacific Ocean. In addition, poster presentations are welcomed in lieu of an oral presentation, they said.

PACON will also consider proposals for special sessions of linked presentations focused on the conference theme. Past PACON conferences have focused on issues such as the Spratly Islands, remote sensing and seafloor mapping. Please contact the PACON secretariat at pacon@hawaii.edu to discuss proposals for special sessions.

Registration fees for PACON 2010 are low thanks to strong corporate and academic support, the organizers said. Major donors of financial support for PACON 2010 include UH Hilo; the city of Hilo, Hawai'i; and the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. Additional financial sponsors for PACON 2010 are welcomed. Registration for PACON 2010 is being accepted online through the PACON Web site at http://blog.hawaii.edu/pacon/conferences/2010-conferences.

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