Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Australia commit to protect and manage a globally significant ocean region
15 May, Manado, Indonesia – An important tropical region that plays a vital role in the circulation of the world’s oceans stands to benefit from a Ministerial Declaration that was signed here today. Ministers from Timor-Leste, Indonesia and the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia endorsed a regional Strategic Action Programme that will promote the restoration, conservation and management of marine and coastal ecosystems for the Arafura and Timor Seas – known as the ATS region.
This significant area,that links the Indian and Pacific Oceans, provides livelihoods for millions of people and makes a substantial contribution to domestic food and exports. These seas contain the most pristine and also highly threatened coastal and marine ecosystems in the world, underscoring the urgent need for trans-boundary management.
Both seas also play an important economic and ecological part in the four countries bordering them: Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Australia. The area is extremely rich in marine resources as well as oil and gas reserves. “This kind of regional cooperation and collaboration is so important to protect and manage this valuable global resource,” says UNDP’s Country Director, Ms. Beate Trankmann.
The Declaration endorses the key environmental issues addressed in the regional Strategic Action Programme, including: recovering and sustaining fisheries; restoring degraded habitats; reducing land-based and marine sources of pollution; protecting marine species and supporting adaptation to the impacts of climate change in relevant sectors.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) working closely with relevant Ministries provided the technical expertise to help shape the regional Strategic Action Programme, raise necessary funds for its implementation, and now look to the future to support the training, policies, governance and community-based projects to implement the Programme.
The Declaration in support of the Strategic Action Programme was signed by the Indonesian Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Mr. Sharif CicipSutardjo; Timor-Leste Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Mariano AssanamiSabino; and the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Greg Moriarty.
The Declaration also approved the creation of a regional mechanism between the Government of Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste and the Government of Australia to ensure that the essential coordination and capacity are in place for sustainable and integrated management of the region.The Government of Indonesia has committed to provide a Regional Secretariat for this coordinating mechanism to be located in Bali.
The Strategic Action Programme may be accessed: http://www.atsea-program.org/publication-1/atsea-strategic-action-programme.
The ATS Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) Project is co-financed by the Global Environment Facility, the Governments of Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Australia and UNDP. It is implemented by the UN Office for Project Services.
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