Science diplomacy: DOST and US governments discuss ongoing and future cooperation

MANILA, Oct. 29 (PNA) — United States Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg and Director Jennifer Haskell of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Science and Technology Cooperation represented the U.S. in discussions on Science and Technology Cooperation with Philippine counterparts led by Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo during the first Republic of Philippines-United States Joint Committee Meeting (RP-USA JCM.)

The meeting at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on Oct. 28, 2014 also included U.S. technical agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The RP-USA JCM is the result of the Agreement on Scientific and Technology Cooperation signed in June 2012 by Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario and then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Agreement aims to strengthen the scientific, technological and institutional capabilities of both countries and promote the exchange of scientific information and ideas.

During the two-day event, the two countries discussed cooperation in priority areas such as climate change and disaster resilience, marine science, health research, science education, innovation and improving the “science ecosystem.”

According to Secretary Montejo: “This collaboration would greatly benefit our local experts and researchers as it helps expand our network of experts and raise the level of technology in the various S&T fields with the help of our counterparts.”

To jumpstart cooperation, four joint working groups (WGs) composed of scientists, experts and private sector representatives have been meeting for several months via video conference to discuss possible collaboration on climate change and disaster resilience, health research, marine biodiversity conservation and improving science.

The WGs presented their draft “action plans” during the Plenary Session on Oct. 28. The event also included a discussion of agricultural biotechnology and food security. (PNA)