The Ocean adds $2.5 trillion each year to the global economy, feeds 3 billion people, is home to more than half the world’s species, produces half the planet’s oxygen and absorbs a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions. Yet it is a treasure in peril.
Indonesia continues to struggle with various environmental issues due to unsustainable development affecting its oceans and seas, such as marine and coastal pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction. Increasing demand for resources, technological advances, overfishing, along with inadequate stewardship and law enforcement, are also contributing to the ocean’s decline. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing persists, resulting in overexploitation of resources.
Coral reefs are also significantly threatened by irresponsible and unregulated fishing. Further, the damage on coral reefs is exacerbated by the global climate change via ocean acidification and warming seas. Approximately 82 percent of Indonesia’s reef area is at risk (Burke et al., 2002).
Indonesia is the second-biggest contributor to marine plastic debris worldwide after China. In 2010, approximately 1.29 million tons out of 3.2 million tons of plastic waste produced in the country ended up in the ocean (Jambeck et al., 2015). Such widespread pollution is detrimental not only to the creatures living in the ocean, but also us humans at the top of the food chain.
Further, mangroves, the primary constituent of blue carbon apart from seagrasses and tidal marshes, are disappearing due to sustained conversion to shrimp aquaculture and palm oil (Richards and Friess, 2016) at an alarming rate (29,040 Gg CO2 per annum), which equals to 3.2 percent of Indonesia’s annual emissions associated with forest and peatland conversion (Alongi et al., 2016).
What We Do
First, New Ocean Economy. The New Ocean Economy for Indonesia would provide a foundation for a new, widely-accepted narrative that economic and social development for Indonesians at present and in the future can go hand-in-hand with sustainable stewardship of the ocean, in which conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of Indonesian seas are seen as critical. In particular, the New Ocean Economy would make explicit what a sustainable blue economy means for Indonesia, seen within the context of Indonesia’s maritime economy and maritime axis visions.
The New Ocean Economy would help support Indonesia’s work in achieving UN SDG 14 and in implementing marine-related commitments Indonesia has made at various summits.
Second, Indonesian Marine Pollution Database, a platform that showcases the state of marine pollution across Indonesia, measured through various methodologies and carefully verified through a peer-review process. The goal is to translate powerful data into online interactive maps and decision-support tools for various stakeholders who can take action, such as marine park rangers, law enforcement officers, fishermen, environmental journalists, campaigning organizations, corporate sustainability officers, and policymakers.
Third, integrating restoration and conservation into sustainable coastal management. WRI Indonesia aims at developing and testing out Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) for mangroves.
WRI Indonesia will also work on mainstreaming blue carbon in Indonesia’s New Ocean Economy. This includes calculating the monetary values of mangrove ecosystems, conducting cost-benefit analyses on mangrove restoration, compiling experiences and lessons learned on mangrove conservation and restoration across Indonesia, and identifying innovative investment mechanisms for mangrove restoration. We work toward blue carbon inclusion in the Indonesia’s nationally determined contribution (NDC). Mangroves ecosystem is important for climate change mitigation, yet for now it is still considered “impacted ecosystem” only.
Together with other CSOs working on marine and coastal issues, WRI Indonesia will work to advocate for a better mangrove management nationally and sub-nationally.
Publications & Resources
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