Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries is committed to spending US$400 thousand to US$900 thousand this year on demonstrating methodologies and approaches for carbon accounting and ecosystem services valuation in coastal and marine ecosystems.

The fund will be spent through the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded Blue Forest Project which will deliver its outcomes in the Biannual International Waters Conference (IWC) of the GEF in 2019, the ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The GEF includes improvement of the understanding of ecosystem services, carbon sequestration, storage, avoided emissions and management in mangroves and seagrass ecosystems at six project sites covering a maximum of 100,000 ha, and the improvement of capacity and ecosystem management as a result of the application of methodologies and approaches in the same selected sites.

In addition, the ministry is also committed to contributing to the reduction of blue carbon ecosystems degradation by enhancing research and programs on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

The programs include reducing mangrove-to-pond conversion and endorsing silvofishery systems and endorses the addition of one specific sector "Coastal and Marine Sector" to the draft of Presidential Regulation on Low Carbon Development Planning which is now under review by Indonesia National Planning Agency (Bappenas).

The ministry believes the inclusion of "Coastal and Marine Sector" into the regulation of Low Carbon Development Planning would guarantee that the contribution of `Coastal and Marine Sector`, where blue carbon is a part of it, will be explicitly quantified and accounted.

The conservation of mangroves and seagrasses is high on the list of the Indonesian government`s priorities.

Indonesia`s blue carbon ecosystems are among the world`s most threatened. About 3 to 7 percent of the ecosystems are disappearing every year, with the worst conditions found on the north coast of Java.

The main reasons are dredging, the degradation of water quality, deforestation and aquaculture activities. An estimated of 70 percent of Indonesia`s mangrove forests are damaged due to human activities.

The application of blue forests methodologies and approaches will also result in improved ecosystem management in the same sites with the opportunity to up-scale improved ecosystem management nationally.

Reporter: Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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