Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) offers research collaborations with countries that are members of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for the West Pacific (IOC-Westpac) to participate in developing small islands in the Western Pacific.

Head of BRIN Laksana Tri Handoko stated that archipelagic countries and small islands, such as Indonesia, have a large area and a long coastline, though lacking in exploration. Hence, to this end, collaboration is deemed necessary.

"We want to continue to expand cooperation with IOC-Westpac member countries," he noted during his remarks at the IOC-Westpac XIV event in Jakarta, Tuesday.

The IOC-Westpac is a collaborative forum for research, technology, and policy in the field of marine science for Western Pacific countries that promotes international cooperation and coordinates programs in ocean research, ocean observation, and capacity building, he noted.

This forum was established in 1989 to promote international cooperation and coordinate programs in marine research and ocean observation.

Meanwhile, senior researcher from BRIN Zainal Arifin believes that the IOC-Westpac meeting held in Indonesia had high strategic value on account of the fact that Indonesia still lacked human resources in the sector.

In addition, the IOC-Westpac is the only special entity that focuses on marine research, he remarked.

"All policies issued regarding the sea are at the IOC. That is very unique and becoming the reason for our interest to host the event," he remarked.

He also stated that BRIN focuses on research and development of small islands, as Indonesia has over 17 thousand islands and almost 90 percent of Indonesia's total islands are small islands since their sizes are less than two thousand square kilometers.

"On that small island, we can cultivate grass and improve people's welfare. We also want to learn the technology from our Korean, Chinese, and Japanese colleagues since they already carry out smart farming," he added.

Apart from proposing research and development of small islands, the BRIN also formed a cultural working group. The agency is also keen to document the sustainable management of marine resources.

"In the east (Papua), we have Sasi, while in Aceh, we have a sea commander. We want to document it and pass it down to our younger generation as part of education," Arifin remarked.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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