UN verifies names of 16,056 Indonesian islands

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) verified the names of 16,056 islands belonging to Indonesia, as noted in a press statement received in Jakarta on Saturday.

The Indonesian delegation had earlier listed the names of 2,590 islands with the UN during the 30th UNGEGN meeting and the 11th UN Conference on Geographical Name Standardization at the UN Headquarters, New York, on August 7-18, 2017.

Thus, the list of topographic names, or gazetteer, of 16,056 islands -- containing information on the names, coordinates, and locations -- within the territory of Indonesia has, until July 2017, been standardized in the UN.

According to Deputy for Maritime Sovereignty Affairs of the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno, Indonesia has, in fact, recorded as many as 17,504 islands that are included in the territory of and belong to the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

"The validation and verification of 1,448 islands still need to be carried out," he noted.

With the changing weather and various natural anomalies, Oegroseno said several islands had surfaced while some had disappeared due to abrasion. Hence, the verification and naming of islands are being carried out on an ongoing basis for ascertaining Indonesias geographical territory.

Furthermore, he explained that the registration of the topographic names in the UN, as an administrative activity, holds significance for the UN member states.

"The goal is to maintain the standardized names of the islands, so that there would be no single island with different names," he pointed out.

However, he stressed that the registration of a name does not mean a sovereign recognition by the UN for a countrys ownership of the island.

"The position of the UN, in particular the UNGEGN, is clear, i.e., it only conducts the standardization of names. It does not give any recognition of sovereignty or legal status of an island," Oegroseno stated.(*)