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Blue economy spurs hope in Indonesia

By PRIME SARMIENTO in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-20 07:04
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Vendors collect fish at a market in Sinjai, Indonesia, on Sept 12. ANDRI SAPUTRA/AFP

Indonesia can serve as a model for the development of the blue economy by showcasing how its vast marine resources can be used to lead a sustainable economic recovery, analysts said.

This is even more crucial as the country this year holds the presidency of the Group of 20 nations, with a leaders summit in November. As an archipelagic nation, Indonesia is expected to lead the way in providing concrete actions that will protect the oceans.

Indonesia's Ministry of National Development Planning hosted a G20 side event earlier this month to present the nation's Blue Economy Roadmap.

The blue economy refers to a branch of economics that relates to the exploitation, preservation and regeneration of the world's marine environment.

Indonesia is encouraging fellow G20 countries to support joint action in prioritizing low-carbon green and blue economic development.

The development of the blue economy is "very relevant" to Indonesia as it is one of the biggest maritime economies in the world, according to Fajar Hirawan, head of the Department of Economics at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Jakarta.

He said this is the right time to tap into its maritime resources as the Indonesian government focuses on an economic rebound.

"Indonesia needs to come up with concrete actions and plans to promote the blue economy and show to the world that Indonesia can have a more inclusive and sustainable growth model," Hirawan said.

The Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative, or IOJI, is also urging the country's President Joko Widodo to spearhead concrete actions which will protect the world's oceans through "tangible commitments" that will accelerate the development of a sustainable and equitable ocean economy.

Fulfilling commitment

Sawidji Widoatmodjo, dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at Tarumanagara University in Jakarta, said promoting the blue economy will allow Indonesia to fulfill its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

He said these SDGs include goal No 8, to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; goal No 14, to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development; and goal No 17, to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

The goals, which were approved in 2015 by 193 member states of the UN, aim to address the world's most pressing problems by 2030.

Indonesia's Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries discussed three blue economy strategies and action plans at the G20 side event, which was held on the island of Belitung in western Indonesia.

Indonesia has 28.4 million hectares of conservation areas that protect mangrove ecosystems and sea-grass beds.

Widoatmodjo said that in order to promote a blue economy, Indonesia needs to learn from its mistakes in managing land-based resources, citing how the country's logging and coal exports had contributed to deforestation.

Leonardus Jegho in Jakarta contributed to this story.

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