"The US and Indonesia have a strong partnership in the maritime sector, including through a new program aimed at protecting the vital marine biodiversity," US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan stated during the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement at the office of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Jakarta on Thursday.
In addition, Donovan noted that the cooperation covered efforts to promote sustainable use to secure food resources and the livelihood of Indonesians.
The US ambassador explained that the program of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) aims to improve the management of six million hectares of marine habitat and deal with the fishery crisis.
The program also targets to build and support 15 marine protected areas, increase productivity in the fisheries sector, ensure food security and nutrition, and secure sustainable livelihood for the people in 13 districts in the provinces of Maluku, North Maluku, and West Papua.
Meanwhile, Director General of Strengthening Competitiveness of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Nilanto Perbowo outlined the USAIDs program of marine conservation and sustainable fisheries comprising several projects closely related to the priorities of the Indonesian government.
"The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is optimistic of continuing its partnership with the US government," Perbowo emphasized.
The program will also help to overcome important challenges in the management of marine and fishery resources and improve the welfare of coastal communities in the three provinces as the focus of the efforts, Perbowo pointed out.
In addition to offering support to Indonesias efforts to improve the sustainable management of fisheries and conservation of marine biodiversity, the program will assist the country in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
The signing of the cooperation agreement was also part of the Indonesian Maritime and Fisheries Business Forum, which was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, other government agencies, local governments, as well as entrepreneurs from the fisheries sector.
The Regional Secretariat of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security in Manado City, North Sulawesi Province, has committed to increasing its participation and coordination as well as highlighting several crucial issues.
"The important issues are marine conservation, sustainable fisheries, climate change, marine biodiversity, and food security," Widi A. Pratikto, executive director of the regional secretariat, stated.
The regional secretariat office basically caters to regional interests, but it has a broader interpretation to realize the Indonesian governments commitment to supporting the activities of conservation, sustainable fisheries, and food security in the country as part of the coral triangle region(*)