Indonesia urges ASEAN nations to overcome maritime challenges

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs has urged Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to overcome various political and socio economic challenges in the maritime sector, including transnational crime, inadequate financial and technological capacity, climate change, overfishing and pollution.

“In the Southeast Asia (ASEAN) and Indo-Pacific regions, the ocean has great economic value and has increasingly been considered as a potential area for (economic) development,” deputy for the coordination of international economic cooperation at the coordinating ministry, Edi Prio Pambudi, said Wednesday.

At a “Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on the Development of the ASEAN Blue Economy Framework” in Belitung district, Bangka Belitung Islands province, Pambudi said the value of goods and services in the maritime sector is projected to reach US$2.5 trillion.

“Meanwhile, the market value of marine and coastal resources reaches US$3 trillion per year, or contributes to 5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP)," he said.

Pambudi said marine resources, which are a part of the blue economy, can benefit the development of various sectors, such as biotechnology, energy, fisheries, tourism, and transportation.

"Recognizing the importance of the blue economy for (the advancement of) the regional economy and the challenges which must be faced, the ASEAN leaders agreed at the 38th ASEAN Summit in 2021 to adopt a declaration on blue economy (development),” he said.

Through the declaration, the ASEAN member countries have committed to look for ways to use marine resources in a sustainable and inclusive way, he added.

“We must bolster the financing for sustainable economic development in the region and support the sustainability of the ASEAN Economic Community initiatives," Pambudi, who also serves as the chair of the High-Level Task Force on Economic Integration (HLTF EI) on ASEAN, said.

He said the ASEAN Blue Economy Framework was established in line with the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP),” which helped to strengthen regional cooperation and sustainable maritime development, while maintaining ASEAN's position in facing the Indo-Pacific and global dynamics.

“Our initiatives in the Indo-Pacific must be in line with AOIP, including the (development of) blue economy, which is expected to attract external interests as it develops (further)," he added.

Pambudi further said Belitung Island was chosen to host the “Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on the Development of the ASEAN Blue Economy Framework” because the development of the island has demonstrated the balance between development and sustainability, in keeping with the ASEAN framework.

He said the island is a mining location for various mineral resources, such as rare-earth elements, metals and silica.

However, it has a very low pollution index and has managed to develop the Belitong UNESCO Global Geopark, he added.

Indonesia is holding the chairmanship of ASEAN from January 1 to December 31, 2023

Source: Philippines News Agency