"We cannot mitigate climate change without carrying out ocean actions,"
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Actions to protect oceans serve as crucial efforts to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change, Ad Interim Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investment Erick Thohir stated.

Thohir made the statement, received here on Friday, during his speech at the Conference of the Parties 28 (COP28) climate change high-level event in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Thursday (November 30).

"We cannot mitigate climate change without carrying out ocean actions," he remarked in his speech.

In the conference, he reiterated Indonesia's firm commitment to handling climate change, noting that Indonesia is a protector of the planet's oceans while emphasizing that seas cover 70 percent of the Indonesian territory.

"In order to protect seas and their biodiversity, Indonesia has designated 10 percent of its seas as marine protected areas," he pointed out, adding that the figure will increase to 30 percent by 2045.

The minister remarked that the Indonesian waters are home to a significant part of the world's reefs and mangroves that can recover at least 17 percent of the global blue carbon.

Bearing that in mind, Indonesia has been implementing a reef restoration project, with the objective of preserving the role of reefs and mangroves in generating blue carbon and protecting coastal regions.

"The world will benefit from our 3.36 million hectares of mangrove forests and 1.8 million hectares of seagrass beds. In addition to ecological benefits, the blue carbon ecosystem can support lives in coastal areas," he remarked.

Thohir then noted that a rise in ocean temperature has negatively affected the patterns of fish migration that in turn hindered traditional fishing activities.

"Oceans regulate our climate and are able to significantly protect us from adverse impacts of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide emissions as well as heat generated by human activities," he stated.

He also drew attention to marine debris, saying that the Indonesian government has taken concrete steps to suppress the amount of plastic waste plaguing its sea ecosystems.

According to the minister, the government has determined the handling of plastic waste as a priority, as evidenced by the issuance of the National Action Plan for Handling Marine Plastic Waste in 2019 that has resulted in a 36-percent decline in marine plastic waste as of late 2022.

"With the support of partners, we are optimistic about reaching the reduction target of 70 percent by late 2025 and almost 100 percent by 2040," he elaborated.

Thohir further underscored the importance of the international community taking collaborative actions to mitigate climate change.

He then lauded the World Economic Forum for its collaboration with Indonesia to launch Ocean20, a platform that facilitates stakeholders to establish collaboration to deal with marine plastic waste.

"It is time for us to take actions to preserve the oceans for the sake of our nations, world, and future generations," he stated.

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Translator: Ade Irma, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Arie Novarina
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