Marine Bio Professor in New York for UN World Ocean Assessment

Marine Bio Professor in New York for UN World Ocean Assessment

A professor at the Institute of Environmental and Marine Sciences (IEMS) is back at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from April 27 to May 1 for a meeting among experts convened to develop a global mechanism of reviewing and assessing the state of the marine environment.

Dr. Hilconida P. Calumpong, marine biologist and Graduate Programs Coordinator at IEMS, is one of only 25 experts from 25 countries tasked to carry out and now draft the first World Ocean Assessment. She is the only expert from the Philippines in what the UN calls the Group of Experts.

The Assessment looks into the condition of oceans and seas across the globe in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of the state of marine resources, the interplay of factors and issues from environmental to socio-economic, and the greater need for regional and global cooperation.

Four of components of the assessment, which Dr. Calumpong and the rest in the Group of Experts are in the process of drafting, are: assessment of major ecosystem services from the marine environment (other than   provisioning services); assessment of the cross-cutting issues: food security and food safety; assessment of other human activities and the marine environment; and assessment of marine biological diversity and habitats.

After the draft first World Ocean Assessment is completed, it will be submitted to UN member states for comments and to independent peer-reviewers for critique. A final version will be released after comments have been made by both UN member states and independent peer-reviewers.

Dr. Calumpong is one of the foremost marine biologists in the country. She has extensive experience in research, consultancy and development work covering the areas of marine biodiversity conservation, coastal resource management and environmental policy.

(File photo: Dr. Hilconida P. Calumpong, first from right, with some members of the Group of Experts during their meeting in May last year in the DOALOS Conference Room at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.)