PAPUA New Guinea will host the 50th annual session of the Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programs (CCOP) in East and Southeast Asia later this year.

The session, which will also include the CCOP’s 23rd Steering Committee Meeting, will be held in Kokopo, East New Britain, from 19 to 25 October 2014.

CCOP is an intergovernmental organisation whose mission is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of applied geoscience programs in the region.

Its aim is to contribute to economic development and improve the quality of life in the region through the programs. CCOP promotes capacity building, technology transfer, exchange of information and institutional linkages for sustainable geo-resource development, management of geo-information, geo-hazard mitigation and protection of the environment.

PNG is part of the CCOP through the Departments of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management (DMPGM), Petroleum and Energy and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).

In preparation for the meeting, CCOP director Adichat Surinkum and CCOP technical secretariat senior officer Simplicio Cayulong flew into Kokopo in January for a familiarisation visit.

The visit was specifically for the CCOP officials to have a look at conferencing facilities, hotels and other infrastructure available in Kokopo.

Among other facilities, the group inspected the Gazelle International Hotel and its conference facilities and the Vunapope Catholic Mission Conference centre.

The visitors met acting East New Britain Province Governor Levi Orong who pledged his administration’s support towards staging the event.

DMPGM geohazards management division director John Arumba, who also took part in the visit, said this was a major international event on the CCOP calendar which would see over 200 participants taking part. Participants are expected from member countries, cooperating countries, cooperating organisations and others. He said the meeting would demand increased services from Kokopo service providers like tour operators, transport service providers and hotels.

CCOP has thirteen member countries including Thailand, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea. It is supported by fifteen cooperating countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada and Denmark.