Indonesian Ocean Forum to Sign Climate Pact

JAKARTA ~ Officials from 121 countries attending a conference in Indonesia in May will sign an agreement to reduce the effects of climate change on oceans and marine life, an official said this week.

The Manado Ocean Declaration will be non-binding but is expected to form the basis for negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Copenhagen in December, conference official Indroyono Soesilo said.

“The agreement is a declaration of their commitment. It is non-binding but moving forward we hope to bring it up for discussion” at the UN convention, he said.

The World Ocean Conference from May 11 to May 15 in Manado, North Sulawesi, aims to raise global awareness of the need to save small islands and coastal areas, protect and conserve fisheries and increase preparedness to manage disasters caused by climate change.

Overfishing and pollution problems in the Coral Triangle area – bordered by Indonesia, East Timor, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands – will also be discussed.

The region contains 53 percent of the world’s coral reefs and 3,000 fish species, and is considered important to the health of the world’s oceans.

Around 1,500 delegates including government officials, ocean and climate change experts and activists are expected to attend the conference.

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