The proposal of hosting a special ANSO General Assembly (GA) in late 2021 was presented by Prof. CAO Jinghua. He said, ANSO has to accomplish the election of a new GB within 2021 owing to the strong advice from by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA), China that takes care of the registration and management of international organizations such as ANSO. Meanwhile, ANSO faces quite a few major issues to be approved by the GA according to the ANSO Statutes such as the approval of the new ANSO members, the amendments to the ANSO Statutes, the adoption of major development strategies and policies and the election of the new GB. Thus, a GA must be held.
In the meeting, all the GB members agreed to take an innovative way to get the election done given the special situation and the online manner. They also endorsed the proposed amendments to the ANSO Statutes, all the 8 new member applications, the ANSO annual progress report in 2021 presented, and the holding of the future GA in Moscow once circumstances allow. The GB members also endorsed some of the strategic thinking and suggestions for the future of ANSO, including the joint funding program with NSTDA (The National Science and Technology Development Agency), Thailand and APN (Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research), the idea of generating extra funding from industrial sectors by the ANSO’s provision of services. Issues such as big-science collaboration, expanding the ANSO members, gender, and regional balance in the ANSO activity, and technology transfer were also discussed.
The meeting concluded by emphasizing that ANSO should keep on focusing on common key challenges and develop more interface with other international organizations. Although the pandemic has transformed our life forever, it is a powerful reminder of how ANSO has turned the challenge into opportunity and of what we shall learn to make the organization stronger.