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Powerhouse of Environmental Specialists to Keynote EAS Congress 2009 International Conference

Last modified November 02, 2009

A grand congregation of movers and shakers leads the 2009 East Asian Seas Congress as keynote speakers for its International Conference on Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Development, to be held in Manila, Philippines this November.

The impressive lineup consists of distinguished environmental specialists from various parts of East Asia as well as the rest of the world, all with significant contributions in their respective fields of study. They will address the participants of the Conference workshops, which are organized into six major themes covering timely and essential aspects of sustainable coastal and ocean development.

Theme 1: Coastal and Ocean Governance keynote will be delivered by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador-at-Large and Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies and the National Heritage Board, Professor Tommy Koh. Professor Koh holds a First Class Honors degree in Law from the University of Singapore, a Master's degree in Law from the Harvard University in the USA and a post-graduate Diploma in Criminology from the Cambridge University, the UK.

Professor Koh received the UNEP Champion of the Earth Award and the inaugural "President's Award for the Environment" in 2006, and was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1980 to 1982. He served as Chairman to the Preparatory Committee for the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development from 1990 to 1992.

Theme 2: Natural and Man-made Hazard Prevention and Management keynote speaker is Asian Disaster Preparedness Center's Executive Director, Dr. Bhichit Rattakul. With over 20 years of experience in policy and management as well as disaster management, environmental education and research, Dr. Rattakul completed his undergraduate studies at the Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and his MS and PhD at Brigham Young University, USA.

Dr. Rattakul was a three-time member of the Parliament and served as Governor of Bangkok, Senator and a member of the Science and Technology Portfolio Cabinet of the Royal Thai Government.

To keynote Theme 3: Habitat Protection, Restoration and Management is Dr. Edgardo D. Gomez, founding director and Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI). Dr. Gomez, with research specializations in coral reef ecology and rehabilitation, is credited for saving the true giant clam (Tridacna gigas) from extinction. He was named a laureate in the UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1989 and Academician by the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1993, and received the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award in 2000.

Dr. Gomez is coordinator of the Center of Excellence for the Philippines and Southeast Asia for the GEF/WB Coral Reef Targeted Research Program and chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. His affiliations include the Scientific Committee on Coral Reefs of the Pacific Science Association and the UN Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP).

Dr. Gomez holds a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of California in San Diego, USA.

To keynote Theme 4: Water Use and Supply Management is Dr. Torkil Jønch-Clausen, Senior Advisor to the Global Water Partnership (GWP), Managing Director of DHI Water Policy of the DHI Group, and Adjunct Professor at the Technical University of Denmark. He chairs the Advisory and Management Committees of the WMO Flood Management Programme and is a member of the World Bank Hydrology Expert Facility. Also, he served as the first chair of the GWP Technical Committee from 1996 to 2003 and was founding chair of the Danish Water Forum from 2002 to this year.

Other positions held by Dr. Jønch-Clausen include managing director of the Danish Water Quality Institute, counsellor and senior technical adviser in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Danida and Head of the Hydrology Department of DHI.

In 2006, Dr. Jønch-Clausen received the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize from the Government of Morocco and the World Water Council, at the 4th World Water Forum.

Keynote speaker for Theme 5: Food Security and Livelihood Management is Professor Michael Crawford, Director and Founder of the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition of the London Metropolitan University. Currently, he is an honorary professor at the Albert Schweitzer International University in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1996, Dr. Crawford received the Centenary Award from Hoffman la Roche for his "outstanding contribution to the biological understanding of the significance of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and for his research on preterm and term infant brain development.

A leading authority in brain chemistry and human nutrition with specializations in work on dietary fats and the health benefits of Essential Fatty Acids to humans, Prof. Crawford authored "The Driving Force: Food Evolution and the Future" where he presented significant evidence on the theory that the modern human brain is unlikely to have developed on a savannah diet but that the long-chain fatty acids it is built from could have been easily found in the seafood of a littoral environment.

Theme 6: Pollution Reduction and Waste Management keynote speaker is Professor Rudolf Wu, the City University of Hong Kong`s Director of the Centre for Coastal Pollution and Conservation and Head of the Department of Biology and Chemistry. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) in Asia Pacific.

Prof. Wu is associate editor of the Marine and Freshwater Research and Journal of Bioindicators and an editorial board member of the Australasian Journal of Ecotoxicology. He has guest edited five issues of the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

Prof. Wu specializes in the field of marine ecology, marine pollution, ecotoxicology and mariculture. He has served on the task team of GESAMP, the Coastal Ocean Observations Panel of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Scientific Advisory Panel of the environment agency of the United Kingdom, and has conducted various regional trainings for the United Nations, with contributions to the second review of the Health of the Oceans.

The 2009 East Asian Congress will be held from November 23 to 27 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. It is hosted by the Philippine Government and co-organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and PEMSEA, and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

To know more about the 2009 East Asian Seas Congress, contact the Secretariat at or visit