Ministers and senior officials 20 countries attending a meeting of the Archipelagic and Island States Forum in Manado, North Sulawesi, on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs)

Archipelagic and Island States Strengthen Commitment to Address Climate Change


NOVEMBER 01, 2018

Jakarta. Archipelagic and island nations agreed on Thursday to strengthen commitments and collaboration to address mutual challenges, including climate change and marine plastic pollution, while they also established a new financing mechanism to support climate actions.

The Archipelagic and Island States Forum adopted the Manado Declaration during its first ministerial meeting in Manado, North Sulawesi, attended by 20 countries, including Fiji, Madagascar, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Britain.

Indonesia, through the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, has been spearheading the establishment of the AIS Forum, in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which serves as a multi-stakeholder platform to discuss climate change-themed and ocean protection initiatives.

In his opening address, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said Indonesia, as the world's largest archipelagic country, was committed to forging concrete cooperation on climate actions.

The minister read a speech by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who was originally scheduled to address the forum but had to attend matters related to Lion Air flight JT-610, which crashed into the Java Sea earlier this week.

"The forum should serve as an avenue for knowledge sharing, enabling smart and innovative solutions to flow and be scaled up and replicated across various concerned actors," Luhut said.

The forum further aims to encourage business engagement and innovative financial solutions to fund projects related to climate change and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, he added.

The Manado Declaration covers commitments on climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster management, and seeks to address economic challenges and opportunities in the blue economy, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

AIS member states also agreed to tackle marine plastic pollution, improve good maritime governance and seek innovative solutions that could be supported by blended finance mechanisms.

Christophe Bahuet, country director of UNDP Indonesia, said the AIS Forum will help to ensure that vulnerable countries are not left behind, as they focus on practical development solutions and innovative ways to protect ocean resources, which will also improve livelihoods.

"Innovative financing is an important dimension of the initiative and UNDP Indonesia will help access new mechanisms, such as blended finance, Islamic finance and green bonds, for projects under the AIS Forum," Bahuet said.

The threat of rising sea levels due to global warming has made archipelagic and island states more vulnerable, especially smaller ones.