Speakers participating in a parallel session on the blue economy during this year's SDG conference pose for a photo in Jakarta on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Bappenas)

Gov't Highlights Role of 'Blue Economy' in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

BY :NUR YASMIN

OCTOBER 08, 2019

Jakarta. The Indonesia is starting to develop its blue economy in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, supported by technology, tourism and energy innovations.

The term blue economy refers the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of the global ocean ecosystem.

The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) discussed the matter during this year's SDG conference themed "Marine Sustainability to Improve Welfare and Reduce Inequality."

"By the end of 2015, the blue economy contributed 6.4 percent of national gross domestic product [of $860 billion]. We aim for a 12 percent contribution by 2045, or at least a 1 percent increase annually," said Bambang Prijambodo, deputy for economic affairs at Bappenas.

The discussion also highlighted the Belitong Geopark in Bangka Belitung as a pioneering example of coastal economic development.

"We are developing the geopark in Belitong because it is a potential area for tourism; the people are supporting the geopark and conserving the environment at the same time," said Dyah Erowati, head of the Belitong Geopark Management Agency.

A geopark is a conservation area used in a sustainable manner to support the economy of the people living in the surrounding area. Indonesia currently has two other geoparks: Batur Global Geopark in Bali and Sewu Mountain Geopark in Yogyakarta.

Hariyanto, energy conservation director at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said the ministry also supports coastal villages by providing access to sustainable energy sources, mainly solar energy, because access to energy was important in developing tourism and the local economy.

"We believe the easiest way to meet energy demands in coastal areas is by installing rooftop solar panels in villages," Hariyanto said.

Farid Naufal Aslam, chief executive of Aruna, an e-commerce platform that connects fishermen to buyers, said the platform significantly increased fishermen's incomes.

"We are approaching small fishermen, especially in central and eastern Indonesia, and some fishermen's groups saw their incomes increase to Rp 600 million [$42,000] a month from only Rp 2 million a month previously," Farid said.

Indonesia's blue economy is in sync with SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy, SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 14 on life below water. It also complies with the national development agenda in strengthening the coastal economy, improve human capital and promote economic independence.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been advancing maritime policies since taking office in October 2014. Indonesia was the first countries to conceptualize the blue economy, with the Mandalika Special Economic Zone being the prime implementation, followed by the Lombok Special Economic Zone.

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