Ocean20: Indonesia, Australia cooperate on sustainable seagrass management

The G20 Summit is a moment of commitment for global leadership to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indonesia fully supports every activity that is beneficial for coastal-marine resources.

During the Road to Ocean20 (O20): Workshop on Blue Carbon of Seagrass Ecosystem and Livelihood, in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara from October 5 to 7, both the governments of Indonesia and Australia made the commitment to collaborate in the Australia Blue Carbon program, to deliver policy recommendations that can be followed up, regarding Blue Carbon in the seagrass ecosystem.

Firman Hidayat, Indonesia’s deputy for coordination of maritime resources, said it is important to protect Indonesian waters, 6.4 million km long with diverse marine biodiversity, so that the marine ecosystem is sustainable.

“Indonesia will always support the development of a blue economy and blue carbon to create healthy and sustainable seas by fighting unsustainable fishing and crime, especially in the fisheries sector,” he said.

Indonesia has 293,464 ha of seagrass ecosystem, also known as “lungs of the sea,” because it plays an important role for the sustainability of marine ecosystems, such as 

nursery habitat, providing shelter and food, supporting commercial fisheries and biodiversity, Blue Carbon, and improving the quality of the surrounding water.

“Considering the enormous benefits provided, we must continue to monitor the seagrass ecosystem for its development, for this reason, the cooperation between Indonesia and Australia is a very good example, the cooperation is in the form of joint research, capacity development and transfer of technology or knowledge,” Hidayat said.

Nikki Fitzgerald, from Australia’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water, expressed high appreciation to the Indonesian government for the Blue Carbon cooperation in the seagrass ecosystem, which is a follow-up to the maritime sector agreement signed in 2017.

“Seagrass is an ecosystem that gets less attention when compared to other coastal ecosystems, mangroves and coral reefs. Therefore, now is a very good momentum to increase capacity and concern in maintaining these ecosystems, where Indonesia as a country has the largest seagrass ecosystem in the world,” said Fitzgerald.

Andreas Hutahean, analyst, Marine Conservation and Utilization of Small Islands, said to regulate and manage the potential of marine resources, the Indonesian Government has issued Presidential Regulation Number 16 of 2017 concerning Indonesian Marine Policy (KKI).

“Indonesian Maritime Policy is a general guideline for marine policy and steps for its implementation through programs and activities of ministries/agencies in the marine sector which are prepared in the context of accelerating the implementation of the Global Maritime Axis,” said Andreas.

This policy consists of seven main pillars, of which the fifth pillar regulates marine spatial planning and marine Environmental protection. Some of the current strategic policies and priorities in managing marine space are sea-land integrated spatial planning, management of marine protected areas, and the Indonesian Marine Health Index (IKLI).

“In terms of policy, conservation and restoration of Indonesian marine ecosystems is carried out through the establishment and management of Marine Protected Areas by the government. By increasing the effectiveness of conservation area management, it is expected to be able to maintain and preserve coastal and marine ecosystems,” added Andreas.

Photo credit: iStock/ Velvetfish

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