18 – 19 May 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia– Report of Prof.Vijaya Kumar, President, NASSL
I attended the above conference on behalf of the NASSL and as President and since our 2012-2013 President, Dr. Kingsley de Alwis had been elected President Elect of the Science Council of Asia (SCA) at the 12th Conference in 2012, I assumed the role of President Elect. The International Conference on the theme Future Earth: Research for Global Sustainability and a Holistic Understanding of Sustainable Development in Asia was inaugurated by Prof.Dato’ Sri Dr.Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to Prime Minister. Keynote Lectures included Uncertain Times, Changing Principles, Quo Vadis? ByProf.Dr.Kiyoshi Kurokawa of the Graduate Research Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS), Japan, Sustainability of Urbanization and Natural Hazards: Earthquakes and Tsunamis by Prof.Dr. Harsh K. Gupta of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India and Sustainable Development Strategies for Asia and Possible Cooperation Plans by Prof.Dr. Sung Hyun Park, President, Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST), South Korea. This was followed by four pre-lunch parallel sessions, two symposia with presentations from a range of countries on Policy Brokering of Community Knowledge for Sustainability Transition in Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, sponsored by the Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowships Programme (API) of the Nippon Foundation and on Towards Establishing a Common Nucleus Among Eight Stakeholder Groups : Education / Capacity Building for Future Earth sponsored by the Centre for Sustainability Science of Hokkaido, Japan and two individual sessions on the themes Global Development and Dynamic Planet.
Three parallel sessions were held in the afternoon, two symposia on Transition Towards Urban Region Sustainability, sponsored by the The Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), UniversitiKebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and on Research and Practice in Integrating Environment and Health Towards Sustainable Future sponsored by the Malaysia Society of Environmental Epidemiology (MySEE) and aindividual session on the theme Transformation Towards Sustainability moderated by me.
TheKeynote Lectures on Day 2 of the Conference included Global Sustainability: From Knowledge to Social Innovation by Prof.Dato’ Dr. Ibrahim Komoo, Vice Chancellor, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Malaysia and From Myth to Science – Lessons of Great East Japan Earthquake and Contribution of Science and Technology for Sustainable Society by Prof.Dr. Takashi Onishi, President, Science Council of Japan (SCJ), Japan followed by three parallel sessions, a symposium on Sustainability, Inclusivity and Community Empowerment sponsored by the University of Malaya Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UM SDSN) and two individual sessions on the themes on Global Development and on Transformations towards Society. The post lunch session consisted of a one and a half hour panel discussion on Future Earth: Global Sustainability and a Holistic Understanding of Sustainable Development in Asia followed by an hour’s question and answer session before the closing ceremony.Poster Sessions were held during lunch on the first day and an extended morning tea on the second.I attended the Keynote Lectures, a few of the Symposia and Individual session lectures and the SCA Management Board Meeting and General Assembly.
The Management Board Meeting was held at the end of the first day with sessions closing early and decisions were taken on rules and by-laws which recognized a national member in each member country who would be a member of the Management Board. NASSL is the national member of SCA for Sri Lanka and is a member of the SCA Board while other members are only members of the General Assembly. The period in office of President Elect and Immediate Past President were changed so that the officers at any one time were made up of President, a Vice President, a Secretary General/Treasurer (all for two year period), and an Immediate-Past President (one year period) or a President-Elect (one year period), so that there shall be only 4 officers, the President-Elect assuming office only after the Immediate-Past President completes his/her one year period. Officers elected at the meeting were President – Prof.Vijaya Kumar (President, National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (NASSL, Sri Lanka, Vice-President – Dr.Om Romny,Director General, Institute of Technology Cambodia (ITC), Cambodia, Immediate Past President (July 2014 to May 2015) – Prof.Mohd.Nordin Hasan, Fellow, Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) Malaysia and Secretary General/Treasurer, Prof Hiroshi Yoshino, Member, Science Council of Japan (SCJ) Japan. The Board also received applications from Bangladesh, Philippines and South Korea for holding future SCA conferences. The above decisions were ratified at the SCA General Assembly meeting held on the evening of Day 2. The SCA flag was handed over by Malaysia to Cambodia which would host the 15th Conference at Siem Reap in May 2015. Sri Lanka will host the 16th Conference during May-J.une 2016 on the theme Science for the People:Mobilizing New Technologies for Sustainable Development in Asia with the Sub-Themes:Opportunities in Mobilizing Information Technology, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology and Social Dimensions: Challenges faced in Asia and by developing countries in Asia and Risks from technologies.
The SCA adopted a resolution on Sustainable Development in Asia at the meeting and the resolution can be accessed here.
Postscript: I attended the Officer’s meeting in Phnom Penh during November 2-4th and can confirm that the 15th SCA conference on the theme Role of SCA: “Scienceand Technologyfor Culture”will be held at Angkor Paradise Hotel, Siem Reap on May 15-16th 2015 with the organizers arranging a visit to Angkor Wat complex for delegates on May 17th. Further details will be posted as available. Also the 18th Conference in 2018 will be held in Bangladesh.