Members of the PH Delegation to the 31st Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Assembly headed by DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr., (left photo, top row)

21 June 2021, Paris - The Philippines was re-elected to the 40-member Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) for the term 2021-2023 during the virtual 31st session of the IOC General Assembly today.  With the Philippines’ re-election, Dr. Gil Jacinto (center photo, top row) was also re-designated as National Focal Point for IOC matters. 

In his statement during the General Assembly, DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum, Jr. emphasized that “the Philippines, being a maritime and archipelagic state, is deeply aware of the importance of the oceans and recognizes our reliance on the ocean and its ecosystem services. However, it is not enough to possess the desire to protect our oceans and implement plans and projects to this effect. Our actions and understanding of the oceans and how they are negatively affected by human-made stressors need to be backed up by scientific knowledge and processes.”

Usec. Solidum reaffirmed the Philippines’ participation in the call for the global effort to translate ocean knowledge and transform ocean science solutions into actions for sustainable development. “The Philippines also fully supports the objectives laid out in the Ocean Decade Implementation Plan and is committed to contributing in our own way and with member states of WESTPAC to meeting these objectives in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030,” Usec. Solidum added.

During its membership in the IOC Executive Council, the Philippines will continue to advocate support for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, ocean literacy, tsunami early warning, and disaster risk reduction and management, and the integration of ocean science, indigenous knowledge and innovation in policy-making for sustainable ocean management.

IOC is the only UN body that specializes in ocean science and services and is composed of 150 Member States. The virtual sessions of the 31st General Assembly began on 14 June 2021 and will conclude on 25 June 2021.

The other members of the Philippine Delegation were Deputy Permanent Delegate Aileen Mendiola-Rau (Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO), Director John Francis Herrera (DFA Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office), Deputy Executive Director Lindsay A. Barrientos (UNESCO - National Commission of the Philippines), Assistant Director Amelita DJ. Ortiz (DENR- Biodiversity Management Bureau), Principal Assistant Leslie C. Escosura-Bustamante (DFA-MOAO), Senior Ecosystem Management Specialist Jhorace L. Engay-Tupas (DENR-BMB), Senior Aquaculturist Sonia Luisa Sanchez (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource), Aquaculturist Joeren Yleana (BFAR), Programme Officer Gay Alfred Blanco (UNESCO - National Commission of the Philippines), and Ms. Marikit L. Degaños (Attaché, Permanent Delegation of the Philippines to UNESCO).   END.