March 2024 OES Beacon

VP OCEANS Report (March 2024)

Venugopalan Pallayil, Vice President for OCEANS (VPO)

Hello OES Colleagues,

It has been a very hectic time for me and so I shall keep this report very short. We are about two months away from OCEANS 2024 Singapore when I am writing this report. Having started the preparations to host OCEANS 2020 in Singapore, it has been a long wait, and we hope to put up a good conference both on the technical front and exhibition. It is estimated that about three hundred technical papers will be presented and over 40 exhibitors will showcase their products.

There will be three main keynote speeches and three tutorials. The OES Ocean Decade Initiative committee will be organizing a special panel ‘UN Ocean Decade: shifting mindsets; overcoming barriers.’ The Panel proposes to address what needs to change in our outlook and behaviour to overcome some of the barriers in addressing the UN Decade of Oceans Challenges. Yet another panel will be on ‘Ocean Observing Platforms and Technologies for Ocean Decade: Perspectives and Prospects.’ Under this panel the speakers, who are mostly inventors or technology developers, will discuss some of the cutting edge technologies and systems that would change the way we monitor our oceans and collect data. A third panel will address the need for building a southeast Asia ocean decade consortium to support UN Ocean Decade goals and providing solutions to its implementation in the region.

We will have all the regular social events as well as WIE and YP panels. Student mixer and OES member’s night will also be organized. The details of these events will be shared with the delegates soon. There has been an overwhelming response to sign up for the technical tours and all the places have been filled up.

Another important news that I would like to share is that the governing boards of two societies have approved a proposal to host the 2026 Rest of the World (RoW) OCEANS in the city of Sanya in Hainan, China. After the Singapore-Gulf Coast virtual OCEANS 2020, this will be the second conference, but in-person, that will be managed by an international Local Organising Committee. Details to follow in the next report.

On the Ocean Steering Committee front, attempts to recruit a new Conference Manager (CM) did not materialize as the person selected after the interview declined the offer. The leadership has decided to move ahead without a CM and rely on the Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) and Joint Conference Committee (JCC) to support future conference organization and recommend ways to achieve a significant growth in the delegate numbers as well as create a strong financial base. The ad hoc budget committee is currently working on a proposal to hire and engage a PCO who can contribute beyond just the organization of a conference by providing recommendations on site selection, expanding the conference reach as well as achieving more revenue through innovative marketing efforts.

Audit of Limerick OCEANS is hindered by the limited freedom given to the sponsors to engage the auditor. The response on this from all quarters has been slow and we are yet to engage an auditor. Actions to initiate the Gulf Coast OCEANS audit process is in progress and a final report is expected in the next couple of months.

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