Indonesia is set to host a two-day international conference on ocean affairs in Bali, which will bring 95 experts from 13 countries in the Western Pacific region to the island. The eighth session of the UN Intergovernmental Oceanography Commission (IOC) would discuss among others marine sciences, observations and capacity building.
The conference would be officially opened by Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Fadel Muhammad on Monday. “The conference will help strengthen Indonesia’s position on the global oceanography observation cruise *INAGOOS Cruise* and improve research on the ocean issues,” national conference committee chief Budi Sulistiyodi told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
The conference was also made to celebrate the first anniversary of World Ocean Conference (WOC) held in Manado, North Sulawesi, last year. The conference produced the Manado Ocean Declaration which was adopted by 74 countries and tabled at international conferences, including climate change talks. This declaration calls for adaptation funds and technology transfers to help ocean countries – including Indonesia – deal with climate change.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presented an award to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last February for Indonesia’s leadership in marine and ocean issues. Indonesia has said its huge population living in coastal areas are prone to an increase in sea levels, resulting from climate change. Minister Fadel would also officially launch the oceanography cruise in three major oceanic expeditions using the Baruna Jaya III, Baruna Jaya IV and Baruna Jaya VIII vessels, Budi said.
The ministry said the oceanic expeditions would explore the sea depths in the Indonesian archipelago this year, as well as study marine life and the movement of underwater plates. The Baruna Jaya III will work alongside the First Institute of Oceanography from China in a project called the Java upwelling Cruises, set to be conducted in the Indian Ocean, south of Java.
The Baruna Jaya I would pair up with a ship from the US, the Okeanos Explorer, in the Sulawesi Sea to monitor hydrothermal currents and marine biodiversity, among others. The Baruna Jaya VIII would conduct research in the Arafura and Timor seas with scientists from Australia and Timor Leste. “This is the first cooperative project for ocean expeditions in Indonesia. The information from this research will be shared with universities through the national education network in real time,” Fadel said. The expeditions will investigate Indonesia’s chemical oceanography, marine pollution, productivity and biodiversity.
Source: The Jakarta Post – May 10, 2010