Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment launched the International Tropical Seaweed Research Center (ITSRC) in Badung, Bali, on Wednesday.

The research center was opened in collaboration with the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the Ministry of National Development Planning.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said that the ITSRC marks an important step in global collaboration for research, development, and upstream-to-downstream integration of the seaweed industry.

"The ITSRC will serve as a center for studies, scientific research, technology transfer, and capacity building in the seaweed industry," he affirmed.

The research center was built through collaboration between the government, global seaweed experts, national seaweed practitioners and associations, local and foreign universities, and development partners, including the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and UN Global Compact.

At the launch event, the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment also held a seminar on "Accelerating the Upstream-Downstream Integration of the Seaweed Industry."

The Indonesian government is seeking to encourage the development of the seaweed industry downstream, for instance, by launching a pilot project for large-scale seaweed farming in Ekas Bay, East Lombok.

Luhut noted that several studies have shown the vast potential for seaweed derivative products, including biostimulants, organic fertilizers, food ingredients, bioplastics, and biofuels.

He said that seaweed downstreaming has high economic potential, with Indonesian seaweed exports in 2033 projected to reach US$19 billion.

At the seminar and the research center launch event, all stakeholders outlined three commitments.

The first commitment is increasing capacity development and productivity and improving the tropical seaweed industry, in line with the sustainable development goals and the Indonesian Maritime Vision 2045, which envisages Indonesia as the world's maritime axis.

The second commitment is strengthening global collaboration for sustainable development of the tropical seaweed industry and promoting an integrated vision for human well-being, prosperity, and the planet.

The third commitment is developing and implementing concrete plans to strengthen the establishment of the ITSRC.

Disaster Warning Systems

Later on Wednesday, the 10th World Water Forum in Bali also discussed how community-based disaster warning systems are the most important component of the Center of Excellence (CoE) cooperation.

"Warning systems in the community are the main requirement. However, if not supported by appropriate spatial planning and technology, there will still be victims. The CoE discussed it," head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Dwikorita Karnawati, said on Wednesday.

She made the statement after attending a panel discussion on COE, held as part of the forum in Badung, Bali.

Karnawati said that disaster early warning systems around the world, including in Indonesia, still depend on the application of technology. Technology, she pointed out, cannot be a solution if it is not supported by social aspects, especially community involvement.

"For example, technology is already advanced for tsunami early warning; the technological leap has been big. However, even though there is an early warning system and the central government provides it to the regions, there must be responses from the community," she explained.

She highlighted the need for people's participation through communities built in disaster-prone areas so that early-warning systems can run optimally and reach those who are at risk of being affected by disasters.

Indonesia is hosting the 10th World Water Forum with the theme "Water for Shared Prosperity" in Bali from May 18 to 25.

The forum seeks to build CoE cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to respond to water issues influenced by climate change.

The presence of the CoE as an alliance of countries in the Asia-Pacific is expected to forge strong collaboration in responding to disaster mitigation.

The panel discussion on the CoE was attended by representatives from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, UNESCO, and private business players, among others.

Indonesia Seeks Cooperation with Finland

Communication and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi said that the governments of Indonesia and Finland are exploring cooperation in three fields, including digitalization.

"The Finnish government wants to cooperate with the Indonesian government for three things. The first is digitalization, the second is the National Data Center, and the third is PPDR, or Public Protection for Disaster Relief," Setiadi said in a statement from his ministry on Wednesday.

Indonesia has welcomed the invitation for collaboration, considering that Finland is a developed country with several capable technology companies.

Through cooperation with Finland, Indonesia could potentially get support for the development of technology in the future.

"There are many companies that have good technology that we can collaborate with or work with the Finnish government to support those three things," he noted.

The invitation for cooperation was extended during a meeting between Setiadi and Finnish Foreign Trade and Development Minister Ville Tavio in Bali on Monday (May 20).

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 10th World Water Forum.

Setiadi expressed the hope that the meeting would be followed up by future cooperation, especially since Indonesia and Finland have enjoyed bilateral cooperation in various fields for 70 years.

"We hope that this cooperation will continue because we have had cooperative relations for 70 years. It has been seven decades," he said.

On January 30, Setiadi also discussed digital infrastructure cooperation with Finnish Economic Affairs Minister Wille Rydman during a meeting in Jakarta.

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Editor: Anton Santoso
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