The two-day conference of the regional ICT-Asia program of France kicked off on 25 May 2015 at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) based in Los Baños, Laguna. The event is held annually to help enhance the capability of Asian countries in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).
ICT-Asia 2015 was jointly organized by the French government through its embassy in the Philippines and Delegation for Regional Cooperation-ASEAN and the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific based in Jakarta, Indonesia; and hosted by SEARCA, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
The regional workshop looks to strengthen, on the basis of mutual benefit, high-level scientific cooperation on ICT with emerging and developed Asian nations.
His Excellency Gilles Garachon, Ambassador of France to the Philippines, welcomed the participants and guests. He said he is particularly glad that this workshop is held in Los Baños, “valuing the high-level quality of research that I personally observed in the country, especially in the field of information and communication technologies. This is the reason why I wish to see an increase in the participation of the Philippines scientist in the next ICT program.”
“Being aware of the climate change issue and the extreme vulnerability of the Philippines, the French Embassy supports different projects on biodiversity and environment protection, agricultural conservation and risk modeling in the Philippines,” he said.
The opportunity for UPLB scientists and researchers to be part of this conference is most welcome, said Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., UPLB Chancellor. He shared that UPLB has created interdisciplinary study centers dedicated to producing knowledge and innovations for the university’s areas of research using ICT. He added that UPLB is “proud to have successfully integrated the use of ICT into our various curricular programs and public service initiatives.”
Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, thanked all participating researchers for their enthusiasm to share their research and seek collaboration in the meeting. He affirmed that SEARCA looks forward to working with them in a productive synergy on the application of ICT in science and technology toward shared aspirations for ASEAN and other developing countries.
ICT-Asia contributes to regional integration by driving a search for excellence and support for scientific communities in Asia, with a strong focus on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ICT-Asia 2015 focuses on four themes: Climate Change Modeling and Monitoring, Disaster Risk Reduction, ICT Applications to Food Security, and Urban and Rural Informatics.
ICT experts from France, ASEAN Member States, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, among others, are among the official participants of the regional workshop. Representatives from French and Asian public and private institutions supporting research and development (R&D), regional cooperation and networking in ICT field are also participating.
Organizers say the workshop is expected to strengthen a Franco-regional network in ICT and increase the participation of Filipino and other ASEAN scientists in the ICT program.
The project proposals to be presented at the 2015 ICT-Asia conference are envisaged to eventually lead to long-lasting trilateral cooperation and collaboration with international research teams.