by Michel GAUTHIER. IOA Acting Chairman
Dear IOA Members and readers of our IOA Newsletter,
Thank to the support of Taiwan and the dedicated work of the IOA Secretariat together with Editorial staff, thank also to the good will of authors of articles, we have entered the twelfth year of publication of the IOA Newsletter. This is a real achievement and all of us realise the difficulties encountered to maintain such a lasting effort over so many years. Our Newsletter is IOA's main tool for disseminating information regarding OTEC and DOWA to all concerned parties and we do aim at increasing its efficiency, and more generally that of all IOA actions, to promote OTEC/DOWA potential and technology development.
In the issue of the IOA Newsletter Spring 1998, Martin Brown observed that the IOA information were directed to ¡§ preaching to the converted¡¨ instead of targeting a larger audience. He recommended the audience should include general public and politicians ¡§who have never heard about OTEC¡¨, and large companies that ¡§have access to the capital required to move OTEC/DOWA into the market place¡¨. More recently (IOA issue Winter 2000) Tar Zen Su observed that generally speaking ¡§ OTEC seems to be forgotten by the public¡¨ and Martin Brown (Spring 2001 IOA Issue) reiterated his demand for a larger effort to publicise the potential of OTEC/DOWA technology. I believe most of you acknowledge the validity of their observations. They both have raised important questions all of you have most probably been thinking about sometime,
I was recently exchanging ideas on the subject with both our IOA's secretariat and our Honorary Chairman C.Y.LI, who is still observing attentively IOA activities. It came out from this exchange that it was appropriate to review the situation and possibly improve IOA efficiency. In the following I shall intend to report and share with you three ideas we decided to submit you for comments and, hopefully, for implementation to support concrete actions as they were initially listed in the IOA Charter. (see IOA Newsletter Vol.1, No.3, Fall 1990).
1)Encourage IOA members to supply the IOA secretariat with Articles.
Authors of articles for the IOA Newsletters ought not to be necessarily OTEC/DOWA specialists and articles have not necessarily to be dealing directly with OTEC/DOWA. Articles on national or international Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development policy in general can also be of interest. Any suggestions to the Editorial Staff are welcome to supply IOA Editorial staff with announcements, personal reports or information on Conferences and others relevant events.
2)Encourage members to spread information on OTEC/DOWA potential in their own countries.
One objective of IOA is to ¡§ keep the general public informed regarding OTEC/DOWA activities¡¨ and IOA members should look actively for opportunities spread information on OTEC/DOWA potential. This should begin at national levels, for instance, by writing (or translating ) articles on OTEC/DOWA in national language and have them published in national magazines, on Internet sites or orally presented in public lectures in schools, associations for environmental protection, etc..
Members should also target individuals of influence in relevant national academic, political and industry sectors and send them letters to introduce OTEC/DOWA and IOA objectives. Enclose samples of the IOA Newsletter and invite selected persons to subscribe.
3)Encourage members to organize national and/or regional IOA representations.
The majority of the IOA members just receive and read quarterly the IOA Newsletter issues but most of them unlikely communicate neither with other members nor with the Secretariat. They do not contribute to exchange and integrate information among IOA members. One of the reason for their passive attitudes is probably they are friendly to, but not directly involved with OTEC/DOWA and renewable energy or environmental issues. And hence they consider themselves actually excluded from the game.
They are wrong and should be convinced there are numerous ways for them to contribute if they wish to. For instance it was already pointed out in 1) and 2) it is not necessary to be an OTEC/DOWA expert to write articles for IOA, to identify and recommend interesting targets to spread information on OTEC/DOWA potential and then ask some IOA fellows, with better expertise or talent or appropriate means, to help or take in charge relevant actions. This can be done at the national, regional and international levels.
But in any group, team or association alike IOA, such positive behaviour first requires mutual knowledge and confidence between members. Building this general knowledge and confidence is a process that should be first started at the national level (and then extended to upper levels). For those who have been involved with IOA from the beginning the idea of this national and regional linkages will look quite familiar since we have already tried to set them up in the past, at the beginning of IOA establishment. And we failed (with the exception of Japan where exists a national organisation for OTEC/DOWA development). We failed for several reasons, among which the lack of support and motivation of members, and also the lack of an easy and powerful communication world network. But today the Internet provides us with such a network and it ¡¦s worth trying again.
The secretariat has been asked to establish an up-dated list of the IOA members Email addresses. ( See the notice enclosed with the IOA Newsletter Vol.12, No1, Spring 2001). The list will be communicated on request to everyone willing to participate to that capacity building for national (and then regional) IOA networks. Every member is kindly invited to prepare to a very short presentation of his own interest, expertise and good will to participate to this project.
Let's hope this ideas will encourage individuals and groups of IOA members to take relevant initiatives to add momentum to IOA activities for OTEC/DOWA promotion and development.