Indonesia hopes that any outcomes from an international ocean conference being held in North Sulawesi will be legally binding, so developed nations will be willing to finance moves being taken to mitigate climate change, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said Monday.
The Minister hoped the World Ocean Conference (WOC), being held in Manado, North Sulawesi from May 11 to May 15, would lead to a Manado Ocean Declaration.
“We hope the United Nations will endorse the declaration and make it legally binding for all member countries,” Freddy told The Jakarta Post.
He said such an agreement would be important for Indonesia because rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, were threatening small islands with a poor capacity to deal with climate change.
“By protecting the oceans, we will be saving the livelihoods of so many people living in small- island states. For this reason, wealthy nations should contribute to the cause.”
Small-island states, like the Maldives, have repeatedly asked for assistance from the international community to protect their people from the growing threat of rising sea levels.
The minister said global warming could cause sea levels, temperatures and acidity to increase in Indonesia.
“We have already lost some small islands to rising sea levels,” Freddy said.
Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands, almost 10,000 of which remain unnamed. Gellywynn Jusuf, a climate expert working for the minister and a member of the WOC organizing committee, said the ocean conference was held to ensure world leaders understand the role oceans play in fighting climate change.
“Mitigation talks on climate change have focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). In the 2007 Bali climate conference, for example, only one session out of about 800 meetings was allocated to discussing the relations between climate change and the impact on oceans,” he said.
REDD was a concept adopted in the Bali climate conference as an alternative to cutting emissions. In return, developed nations investing in the logging industry in Indonesia pay incentives to reduce the emissions from deforestation.
Around 7,000 delegates, including government officials, ocean and climate change experts and activists from 120 countries, are expected to attend the WOC. Experts predict oceans are capable of storing about 50 times the carbon dioxide emissions than currently exist in the atmosphere. Indonesia, with 5.8 million hectares of oceans, could theoretically absorb up to 40 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
WOC 2009 Targets:
- Increase cooperation between nations in order to manage marine resources in the context of climate change
- Increase understating among the global community regarding the vital role of the ocean in regulating global climate
- Increase global attention on the need to save small islands and coastal areas
- Increase commitment from international bodies to protect and preserve fishery resources in order to ensure food security.
- Increase preparedness to mitigate disasters caused by climate change.
- Increase capacity at a community level, especially coastal and small communities, to adapt to the effects of the climate change.
Source: The Jakarta Post – January 20, 2009
BY: Adianto P. Simamora