Delegates from developed and developing countries met on the opening day of the World Ocean Conference (WOC) in Manado on Monday to work together to resolve the impact of climate change on marine resources. “It’s clear our precious marine resources are under dire and increasing threat. In many parts of the world, climate change will accelerate ocean destruction,” Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said in his opening speech to delegates from about 80 countries.
“Stakeholders need to work together to address challenges posed by the financial, food, energy and water crises, and also to holistically tackle climate change.” change has been the most severe environmental threat of the past decade, and has seen nations hold a series of international meetings to mitigate global warming and to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Delegates are expected to make a final say on new emissions cut targets at the Copenhagen climate conference at the end of the year to replace the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2012. The opening ceremony at the Grand Kawanua Convention Center, followed by the Senior Official Meeting, was marred by the arrest of two activists protesting at Malalayang Beach.
Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) executive director Berry Nahdian Furqon and water and food campaign manager Erwin Usman werearrested after attending the Indonesian Fishermen’s Conference, Antara reported.
Scientists also gathered to discuss ocean issues and the coral triangle, at numerous sideline events that included exhibitions on the ocean and cultural and sporting issues. The government, having initiated and funded the conference, is looking to get the Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) tabled at the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Conventions (UNFCCC) talks.
“It is incumbent upon us, policy and decision makers, to formulate environmentally sound policy and the use of marine living resources within the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol,” Freddy said. He added the ocean conference would highlight climate change threats to oceans and seek political commitments from all delegates. “These issues need to be addressed with high priority, recognizing that a significant proportion of economic development, food security and livelihoods are reliant on healthy oceans and marine systems,” he said.
He also pointed out urgent measures for adaptation and mitigation to help preserve marine and coastal communities and their resources. Freddy also said both developing and developed nations needed to commit to concerted actions in cutting emissions and supporting conservation efforts in biologically important regions, as in the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).
Heads of state of CTI member countries – Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Indonesia’ will officially launched the CTI Summit on Friday. “The initiative will build stronger political will and commitment for concerted actions by the six member states to conserve marine biodiversity,” Freddy said. The CTI is expected to deal with the protection of coral reefs spread over the 75,000 square kilometers bounded by the six countries.
Source: The Jakarta Post, May 12, 2009. Article by Adianto P. Simamora