United NationsDépartement des Affaires Économiques et Sociales Développement Durable

Development and strengthening of the regional research and monitoring network on impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems in the Western Pacific and Its Adjacent regions

IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific and Adjacent Regions (

    Increase absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) into seawater, which consequently increase acidity of seawater, is collectively referred to ocean acidification (OA). The OA induce adverse effect on calcifying organisms such as coral & its associated organisms, calcareous phytoplankton & algae, etc. The effects could disrupt the function and service of the ocean, which finally impact on ocean productivities. As OA is one of the SDGs targets (14.3) and the member states in the WESTPAC region require strongly support on capacity development for the OA observation and research. Therefore, WESTPAC has immediately taken the action to establish OA-network and develop the practical standard for OA monitoring including proposed pilot monitoring sites in the region.


    The prior aims of the WESTPAC are to establish the WESTPAC-Ocean Acidification Network (WESTPAC-OA network) and implementation plan of the project which has its primary objectives on; (1) setting up the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) for analysis of pH, TA and monitoring biodiversity on coral reef; (2) providing capacity building and technical support on monitoring of OA and its impacts on coral reef following WESTPAC-OA-SOPs, and (3) monitoring pH, TA and related carbonate chemistry parameters of seawater including biodiversity of coral at selected pilot sites, that voluntary proposed by the member countries of WESTPAC-OA network. (4) encouraging all members of WESTPAC-OA to share the monitoring results to support the SDG-14.3.1 indicator through the national focal point for SDG-14.3

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    The project was initiated in response to urgent need of UN member states on increasing the capability to fulfill their commitment to the UN SDGs. The theoretical and hand on training following the developed SOPs will ensure that results from the monitoring of selected sites and research by member states meeting the requirement of SDG-14.3. The practice has been tailored to support the SDG 14.a directly, and results from project implementation will also contribute to many other SDGs, such as SDG 2-Zero hunger, SDG 5-Gender equality, SDG 8- Decent work and sustainable economic growth, SDG 13- Climate actions and SDG 17- Partnerships.

    Implementation methodologies

    The project was initiated through several round of consultative meeting with the countries and experts, particular with experts of OA monitoring and research from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA, and close collaboration with the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON). The first inception Workshop (WS) was organized at Phuket, Thailand, January 2015. The WS introduced on going OA monitoring and research around the world, with emphasize on several cast studies in USA. At the WS also agree on methodology that will be used for experimental study and sample analysis. The project designed to prior on providing capacity building particular on pH and TA analysis which is minimum required and agreed to be measure at the proposed pilot sites. The task teams were established to develop the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP), for pH and TA analysis and biodiversity monitoring on coral reef (using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structure: ARMS). These SOPs were later used for theoretical and hand on training and sample analysis of the project. The series of training workshop was conducted during 26-28 August 2015, 29-31 August 2016, 14-15 December 2017, and 6-7 November 2018, including scientific Symposium on 5 November 2018, which focused on capacity building and follow up the progresses of project. The national trainings have regularly conducted with technical support of the WESTPAC. The financial arrangement for the series of the training-WS at national and international were co- funding by WESTPAC and host countries both in-cash and in-kind, but all operating cost for monitoring and sample analysis of the pilot sites were fully support, both in-cash and in-kind, by the participating institutes in the project.


    The SOPs for pH, TA analysis and ARMS deployment technique and analysis has been accomplished and used by the WESTPAC-OA Network. It was further revised to the 2sd which is in the final editing processes. During last several years, there are 6 countries namely China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippine have been monitoring pH and TA including assessment of biodiversity on the coral reefs at the proposed pilot monitoring sites and some countries have expanded a greater number of the monitoring sites. Some of them have generated substantial data and information report to the SDG-14.3.1. There were more than 250 scientists, which most of them are young scientist, have been received training, joined scientific symposium and WESTPAC International Marine Science Conference, Nha-trang, Vietnam, and Qingdao, China, in 2014 and 2517 respectively. Many of them become the backbone of OA monitoring in their countries. WESTPAC-OA network also support the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), as its regional hubs.

    Factors and Constraints

    As the project was developed based on the global concern particular on supporting the SDG-14.3. However, the development of the project was initiate through close consultation and collaboration among the key stakeholders, which could also built up the ownership. The innovation and technologies are built up based on available applicable instrument and resources following the acceptable best practice. Therefore, the investment in technologies and equipment will not burden to the participated institutes. It also needs to strengthening communication and close collaboration for some years before and during implementing the project.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The concept of the co-design and best practice, in term of applicable and acceptable technological transfer and build up the ownership of stakeholders and partners could be done in all regions, through the close communication and consultation with all related stakeholders/partners that should be in place since early stage of project/activities initiation. It will let all participants understanding situation of the issues in the region/glob including seeking the common interests and concerning issues of the region. The ownership is very importance that could be done within any activities. It can bring forward the commitment of supporting from participating institutions to project/activities.

    COVID-19 Impact

    Unprecedented Covid-19 has generated negative impacts on the project implementation particular on training/workshop, and field survey/monitoring. Since late 2019, most of activities in the member countries have stopped or decline. However, some countries have been re-zooming their field activities and work in the laboratory since late of last years (2020). Virtual meeting, webinar, and survey/exchange information have been conducting since early 2020. However, it not well affective as physical actions. It expects that the full operation of the project can be re-zoom again after no more impact of the pandemic.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2015 (start date)
    31 December 2023 (date of completion)
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