Foreign delegates praised Indonesia for its implementations of the world’s largest ocean conference but remain divided over the target of bringing up ocean issues at upcoming international climate talks. German delegate Gitle Warnick said the World Ocean Conference (WOC) should focus on marine conservation and biological diversity in an effort to help minimize the impact of climate change on the oceans.
“It’s very important to open up the people’s minds to marine environmental conservation. This conference is more about topics on ocean conservation,” she said Monday. Asked about Indonesia’s plan to table the Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Gitle said it is definitely research talks.
“We all know that ocean’s main function is as a carbon sink,” she said. Turkish Ambassador to Indonesia Aydin Evirgen hailed the Indonesian government for promoting the roles of oceans in climate change. “The conference is beneficial for all countries to preserve oceans and mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said. “It’s a good starting point, but more researchers are still needed in the marine sector.”
Haydar Hassan, the Sudanese foreign ministry’s director general of international issues, also lauded Indonesia’s initiative. “It’s a good idea; the role of oceans in climate change is very important for the livelihoods of coastal people,” he said. “For the safety of the people, we need technological and financial assistance to adapt to climate change, and it can be done at climate talks.”
The WOC, initiated by Indonesia, has gathered together thousands of delegates from 80 countries. The ministerial level of the conference is expected to reach an agreement to push oceans center stage in the UNFCCC to be considered an alternative in reducing emissions.
Indonesia hopes the carbon in the oceans will be included in a new commitment expected to be agreed in Copenhagen in December to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. WOC national committee secretary Indroyono Susilo said differing opinions from delegates were normal at negotiations.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said Indonesia had set out a road map on a plan to bring the MOD to the UNFCCC talks. Indonesia said it would try to submit research on the role of oceans in climate change, at the 31st IPCC session to be held from Oct. 26-29 in Bali. The country also plans to table the MOD at the Bonn climate talks in July.