President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo speaking at the opening of the 2018 Our Ocean Conference in Bali on Monday. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

'Every Little Action Counts': Jokowi Calls for 'Mental Revolution' in Ocean Conservation

OCTOBER 29, 2018

Nusa Dua. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said "every little action counts" when it comes to protecting the world's oceans, and urged participants in the 2018 Our Ocean Conference in Bali to use the forum as a driving force to transform the global mentality to embrace ocean conservation.

"We have to be able to make commitments and take concrete steps … those that can be felt by the people and have a real impact on ocean conservation. Every little action counts," Jokowi said in his opening speech on Monday.

Indonesia is hosting the fifth Our Ocean Conference this week, with government officials and representatives of civil society and the private sector in attendance to discuss pressing ocean-related issues, including climate change and marine pollution.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who is co-hosting the event with Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, said the conference is strategic for its multi-stakeholder participants, thus allowing key players from different segments of society to contribute to solve common problems.

As host, Indonesia is proposing a review mechanism to strengthen international commitments made during the conference.

"I want this conference to send clear commitments, transparency and develop a concrete mechanism on tracking deliveries [for] commitments we have made," Susi said.

Last year's conference in Malta saw participants making more than 400 commitments and financial pledges amounting to about €7.2 billion ($8.3 billion).

In 2014, Jokowi declared his vision to turn the archipelago into a global maritime fulcrum, which was followed by the Indonesian Sea Policy in 2017 that maps out the country's maritime goals.

The policy covers management of marine resources, rebuilding of maritime culture as well as advancing maritime diplomacy, and includes a goal of reducing the amount of its plastic marine debris by 70 percent by 2025.

According to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia, Indonesia is the world's second-biggest plastic polluter after China.

"We need a mental revolution to tackle challenges facing the ocean and to manage the ocean sustainably," Jokowi said.

He added that the conference should be a driving force for this mental transformation in ocean preservation.