Science to Enable and Empower Asia Pacific for COVID 19 response a special webinar, was held by UNESCO Jakarta Office supported by Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) and Malaysia Funds-in-Trust (MFIT) on Tuesday, 19 May 2020, via video conferencing, in order to take stock of the impact of the pandemic on UNESCO’s regional science networks, and to discuss on how respond to the challenges. Attendees included SEE-AP alumni, UNESCO Headquarter, UNESCO Field Offices, Category II Centres and Chairs, and stakeholders from extended regional science networks. Registered participants were 1,627 from across 24 countries.
The webinar was officiated by Prof. Yasuto Tachikawa, representing Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Mohammad Sanusi Abdul Karim, Secretary-General of Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO and Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Office in Jakarta and Regional Bureau for Science.
Key remarks were provided by 17 experts from the regional science community, most of whom had been involved in the JFIT and MFIT projects. Speakers introduced their perspectives on the roles of “Science Family” during and after COVID-19 pandemic with reference to their fields of expertise. The discussion was held around Youth in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Innovation (SETI) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Open Science, Technopreneurship and Science Communication; Water and Environmental Sciences and UNESCO’s site-based networks. Colleagues from 11 UNESCO Offices and HQ SC sector also presented their views and future directions in response to the ideas shared by stakeholders.
The main output of the webinar is the Asia Pacific Statement of Action by the UNESCO Science Family in Asia and the Pacific in Response to COVID-19 Challenges. These set of recommendations reaffirm that UNESCO and its science networks will work collaboratively to mobilize scientific research and innovation across Asia and the Pacific to strengthen the interface between science and society; recall the commitment made during the webinar UNESCO Ministerial Forum for Open Science for COVID-19; and reaffirm that the pandemics extend beyond national and geographic borders and therefore, the value of scientific cooperation and calls for immediate (up to 1 year) and medium term (2 to 3 years) actions.
The webinar can be accessed here