Posted by: Hendra Siry | 17 December, 2009

Missing Maritime Issue from Copenhagen Treaty Draft

KOMPAS, Wednesday, 16 December 2009 | 1:17 PM
COPENHAGEN, KOMPAS.com – The maritime issue which was previously mentioned in over ten paragraphs in the conference discussion draft, along the process, has disappeared from the shared vision draft.

The new draft of suggestions, which is the reference for all negotiators, has omitted the acknowledgement of the sea and coastal ecosystems’ vulnerability on the shared vision part.

The discussion draft instead brings up acknowledgement for mountain areas as vulnerable to climate change. This addition is to adopt the interest of countries with mountains and melting glaciers, such as Nepal and Tibet.

“We will keep trying to get recognition of the maritime aspect in the treaty draft. It’s critical for Indonesia,” stated Minister for Fisheries and Marine Affairs Fadel Muhammad in a press conference at the Bella Center, Monday afternoon Copenhagen time (around Monday midnight WIB).

Indonesia continues endeavor

The text omittance in the draft is still being claimed by the Indonesian delegates to be reacknowledged. Indonesia considers adopting maritime issue to be crucial for the treaty. Besides the fact that two thirds of Indonesia is the sea, millions of people live on the coasts.

Indonesia, that had successfully held the World Ocean Conference in Manado, North Sulawesi, last May, feels responsible for that acknowledgement. The conference, which was attended by delegates from 87 countries, came up with the Manado Declaration, one of which is the commitment to push marime issue to be adopted in the climate negotiation.

In Copenhage, the Global Environment Fund declared a funding commitment of 63 million USD for the coral triangle initiative, which includes Indonesia and five other countries.

The coral triangle area supplies much of the sea products for hundreds of millions of people. Now the sea is threatened by the increasing sea acid.

Increasing sea acid in-line with increasing carbondioxyde concentration in the atmosphere contributes to the fatal damage of the sea’s ecosystem. The carbondioxyde absorbed by the sea kills massive coral reefs, which will directly affect the productivity of sea organisms.

According to Hendra Yusran Siry, the Indonesian negotiator for maritime issue, this issue has been acknowledged in the mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, and capacity development. “We’re concerned that the achievements of mitigation and other efforts [on maritime issue] would be discounted since they’re not mentioned [in the treaty].” Indonesian delegates have re-submitted the maritime issue in the new suggested draft through the effort with the ad hoc working group on long-term cooperative action.

The missing maritime and coastal issue from the shared vision is against the agreement in 1992, that has been firmly adopted in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The framework admits the importance of sea and coastal ecosystems as absorbers of the carbon load, and they in turn could release emission into the atmosphere.

It’s a matter of priority

Indonesia, together with 12 other countries, agreed to push for the adopting of maritime issue in the treaty. This group of countries was formed during the climate meeting in Bonn, Germany, 2009.

However, the unity of the group hasn’t been solid enough in the Copenhagen negotation. “Not that the group doesn’t exist anymore, but perhaps it’s a matter of priority differences from each country,” said Hendra.

This doesn’t weaken Indonesia’s struggle to push the issue forward into the treaty. The data from the Convention on Biological Diversity, released in Copenhagen, estimates that the sea acid will increase by 150 percent by 2050, or 100 times faster than the last 20 million years. It seems that the survival of sea organisms will be disrupted as it threatens the human food supply balance. (GSA/C17-09)


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