Made Arya Kencana & Fidelis E. Sastriastanti
Divers swim near coral reefs teeming with fishes in the water off Indonesia’s Komodo island. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been honored by the UN for protecting oceans at an international conference in Bali.
United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner presented SBY with the UNEP Award for Leadership and Promoting Oceans and Marine Conservations and Management.
“This award is not only for the government but for the people of Indonesia,” said Steiner, adding that he hoped it would encourage the government and the people of Indonesia to take further steps to improve management of the country’s wealth of ocean resources.
The award acknowledges Yudhoyono’s commitment to cooperate with Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines and Timor Leste to preserve coral reefs.
Delegations from more than countries have gathered for the Bali UNEP conference, which will focus on sustainable development, eco-friendly economies and biodiversity. In a speech at the conference on Wednesday, SBY also encouraged ministers to tackle the issue of climate change when they meet informally there later this week.