Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government has stressed that there will be no trade-off between economic recovery and environmental preservation in efforts to realize sustainable development in Indonesia.

“In realizing sustainable development, the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) is continuing to underline that there will be no trade-off; once again, there will be no trade-off between economic growth and environmental preservation,” said Minister of National Development Planning and head of the Bappenas, Suharso Monoarfa.

He made the remarks at the launch of the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program-Coral Triangle Initiative (COREMAP-CTI) in Sorong, West Papua, which was broadcast online on Friday.

Restoring the economy and preserving the environment remain the government’s main concerns in the midst of the pandemic, Monoarfa stated. He likened the two to the wings of a swan that need to move together to ensure it can fly.

Under the current circumstances, the government cannot prioritize the management of the pandemic without paying equal attention to economic recovery, the United Development Party politician said.

At the same time, the government is prioritizing the health sector as public health initiatives need to go hand in hand with economic recovery efforts, he added.

"That is what I mean with the 'pair of swan wings' metaphor. So, there is no trade-off between economic recovery and environmental preservation. In this context, they are not interchangeable. There is no exchange rate," he said.

For that reason, COREMAP-CTI, which has been initiated by the Ministry of National Development Planning and the Bappenas along with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, is expected to protect and regulate the use of coral reefs and related ecosystems, along with marine conservation efforts, with the ultimate goal of improving the welfare of coastal communities, he noted.

“The preservation of coastal resources, in this case coral reefs, can be a real example of how to protect the environment while simultaneously improving the community and national economy. This is what I call the carrying capacity that we must maintain. That way, even though it is exploited for the prosperity of the sea, the prosperity of the people, and the economy, it would not go into extinction and will be maintained," Monoarfa explained.

Meanwhile, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Edhy Prabowo, voiced his full support for coral reef conservation efforts, considering their immense impact on the economy and the environment.

“Planting one coral reef is equal to the oxygen from 20 trees on land. It is very important. How to control the preservation of coral reefs? In the short term, strengthen monitoring of damage to coral reefs due to boat crashes. The long-term target for the preservation of coral reefs is (using them as) fish spawning grounds. There is also the addition of cold storage for fish production,” he said.

COREMAP-CTI is a pilot project that is being implemented by the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF) in four provinces — Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, and West Papua. The focus of the project is to manage and utilize coral reef ecosystems and marine conservation areas.

The Ministry of National Development Planning /Bappenas, through ICCTF, has been managing the COREMAP-CTI project since 2019, with a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), channeled through the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The World Bank's support for COREMAP-CTI totals US$6.2 million, while the ADB’s support amounts to US$5.2 million.

In West Papua, the implementation of the COREMAP-CTI covers three priority areas — the Raja Ampat Islands Aquatic Reserve, the western Waigeo Islands Aquatic Reserve, and the Raja Ampat Regional Marine Protected Area.

Related news: LIPI presents report on two decades of COREMAP implementationThe pilot project covers enabling access to fishery resource management for the community, developing livelihoods based on sustainable marine development, and policy recommendations that can be adopted by the central government, local governments, and ministries as well as agencies to ensure a sustainable impact. (INE)

Related news: Planting coral could benefit coastal economies: Minister
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Translator: Ade Irma Junida/Aria Cindyara
Editor: Suharto
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