DIVERSITAS (transferred its activities to Future Earth since 2012) was organized by ICSU, IUBS, IUMS, SCOPE and UNESCO since 1990 for the conservation and utilization of biodiversity. The four main purposes are (1) study of ecological function of biodiversity, (2) study of mechanisms of origin, maintenance and extinction, (3)inventory and monitoring and (4) program for conservation. DIWPA will cover all these items in the region of Western Pacific and Asia.

The first proposal of DIWPA was discussed in the International Symposium of “Ecological Perspective of Biodiversity” held in Kyoto in December 1-5, 1993, and approved in the final discussion on December 5. At that time the Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, was requested to become the planning office. The chairperson of the planning office was Prof. Hiroya Kawanabe. In this old proposal, DIWPA focused on only the inventory and monitoring of biodiversity.

On September 6, 1994, DIWPA had the second planning at UNESCO, Paris. More than two dozens of scientists from ten countries attended to the meeting. The proposal was accepted after the following changes; (1) not exclude subjects other than inventory and monitoring, (2) include marine biodiversity, and (3) include the Polynesian region.

Subsequently, DIWPA had the third planning meeting in Beijing for one day during the Pacific Science Congress, June 5-12, 1995. The start-up conference was held in the fall of 1995 in Kyoto, Japan. Throughout these meetings, the concept of BOY (Biodiversity Observation Year, later renamed as IBOY) was refined. After a thorough preparation phase, the coordinated biodiversity observation was conducted as IBOY (International Biodiversity Observation Year) in the Western Pacific and Asia including Polynesia in 2001-2002.

On December 20, 2003, 2 important post-IBOY projects are approved in DIWPA Steering Committee Meeting. One is “Carbon and Biodiversity” which will be conducted by Prof. Kanehiro Kitayama and the other is “Landscape-change and Biodiversity” which will be led by Prof. Tohru Nakashizuka. Prof.Tohru Nakashizuka was elected as the new chairperson to succeed Prof. Hiroya Kawanabe and Prof. Kanehiro Kitayama was elected to continue to be the Secretary General.

To date DIWPA has received supporting letters from 16 countries and regions including Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Finland and the USA, and later from 44 countries and regions.