In fact, life on Earth depends on the ocean. A healthy ocean is central to human well-being. The ocean feeds billions of people, employs millions of workers, and generates trillions of dollars to the world economy.
Lying between the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, Indonesia is one of the world`s largest maritime countries, with some 5.8 million square kilometers of marine territory.
The country is entrusted to host the fifth Our Ocean Conference (OOC) to be organized in Nusa Dua, Bali, on October 29, 30, 2018.
This year`s OOC is themed "Our Ocean, Our Legacy," as it reflects choices and actions to maintain the sustainability of the oceans` resources and to preserve the ocean`s health, as a heritage presented for the children and grandchildren.
People have an option to choose the kind of legacy they will leave for the future generations; and that choice depends on the actions they take today.
The oceans carry not only living artifacts and history but also the promise of the people`s future. Its undulating vastness holds the key to economic growth, food security resources, as well as solution to curb the impact of climate change.
However, the oceans are under immense pressure due to adverse impact of human activities. Marine pollution, bleaching coral reefs, raising sea temperature, and unsustainable fishing continue to occur. Indirect threat to the oceans also uncloaked with the recent findings on human trafficking in fishing operations, wildlife trafficking, as well as arms and drugs smuggling.
The main objective of OOC is to increase as well as enhance the collaboration and partnership between various ocean stakeholders, which is translated into concrete and actionable commitments.
OOC 2018 will convene participants from countries across the globe to ensure diverse perspectives from various stakeholders, including governments, commercial sectors, financing entities, scientific communities, civil society organizations, and young leaders.
Heads of states, ministers, and champions from various backgrounds will also be invited to influence concrete and actionable commitments to preserve the oceans` health.
At least five heads of state -- notably from Panama, Monaco, Palau, East Timor, and Seychelles -- have confirmed their attendance at the OOC 2018.
The forum will also be attended by some 13 maritime ministers, with the total delegation members estimated to reach 1,500, according to Head of the Restoration Sub-Directorate, the Directorate of Coastal and Small Islands Utilization at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Sapta Ginting, recently.
Not only government and business circles but some Hollywood celebrities are also scheduled to participate in the conference, especially those who have been actively involved in marine and environmental conservation programs.
Last year, the meeting was held in Malta, while in 2019, the Ocean Conference will be organized in Norway.
In the third OOC held in Washington D.C., the United States, in September 2016, Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti highlighted illegal fishing activities that have posed enormous threats.
Internationally, between $75billion and $125 billion of global output annually goes waste due to ineffective fish stock management and illegal fishing.
Indonesia has persevered and incessantly fought illegal fishing activities that had become transnational crimes, she emphasized.
OOC is focused on generating commitments and taking actions to maintain the sustainability of oceans.
Since 2014, OOC has successfully generated commitments totaling around US$18 billion and 12.4 million square kilometers of marine protected areas.
The OOC 2018 will demonstrate significant progress on past commitments and inspire new commitments made for the continuation of more concerted and integrated actions for protecting the oceans.
This year, the conference will also continue to focus on marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate change-related impacts to the oceans. This year`s OOC will also maintain the crosscutting themes of sustainable blue economy and maritime security, as introduced by the European Union in 2017.
OOC 2018 will comprise plenary meeting, exhibitions and Our Ocean, Our Legacy Youth Leadership Summit. Participants are also encouraged to host side events to showcase leadership and foster more commitments to preserve the ocean.
As the largest archipelago in the world and with over 17 thousand islands, Indonesia is ready to share experiences and take a cue from others on the preservation of sustainable oceans.
Editing by Yosehp