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Appreciating Indonesia’s Initiative to Embrace the World’s Island Countries Through the 2023 AIS Summit

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By : Mujirazak Davesta )*

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum is a global forum that will invite dozens of island and archipelagic countries in the world based on an agreement from the Manado Joint Declaration in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) from the United Nations (UN). This forum focuses on the common challenges faced by island and archipelagic countries, namely empowering the ocean for sustainable economic development, resilience to climate change, marine pollution, as well as emergency management and sustainable fisheries development. 

The history of the AIS Forum itself began with discussions at the 2017 Maritime Conference in New York City. This was followed by a conference at the 2017 Conference of Archipelago and Island Countries in Jakarta, which was then formalized through the Manado Joint Declaration at the first Ministerial Level Meeting of participating countries on 1 November 2018. AIS has implemented various programs and activities of the Official Meeting Senior and Ministerial Level Meetings. Until now, it is planned that the first AIS Summit (Summit) will be held on October 11 2023 in Bali.

Ayodhia GL Kalake, Secretary of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment of the Republic of Indonesia stated that Indonesia had initiated the formation of the AIS Forum since 2017. This AIS Forum was formed to encourage collaboration between island and archipelagic countries throughout the world to jointly overcome the challenges and problems faced, especially in marine development sector and climate change mitigation and control of marine pollution.

Ayodhia Kalake also conveyed that in general the topics that would be discussed were related to four things, namely the implementation of the blue economy, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, marine waste which is included in overcoming marine pollution, as well as marine and maritime governance which is in accordance with the problem focus of the establishment of the AIS Forum. Alone.

Meanwhile, Assistant Deputy for Delimitation of Maritime Zones and Border Areas at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Sora Lokita, stated that at the AIS Forum Summit which was held in Bali, one of the main targets was the leaders’ declaration which contained the hopes of the country’s leaders, what the future of this AIS Forum Summit would look  like  . continues to develop into an  international organization  that can help the benefit of  islanders  or residents of island and archipelagic countries, as well as improve and improve various programs and work that have been carried out by the AIS Forum.” Marves Sora also emphasized that the target of the AIS Forum Summit is to serve as a forum for aspirations. and hopes that prioritize the interests of the people of the country itself.

Tourism observer from Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed), Chusmeru, said that holding the 2023 Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum Summit in Bali was very important to maintain the sustainability of Indonesia’s seas in a future full of challenges. Because, one of the latest threats that needs to be anticipated is coastal exploitation and marine pollution.

He added that given these challenges, it was important to discuss the principles of Our Ocean Our Future at the summit which brought together dozens of archipelago and island countries and was held on 10-11 October 2023 in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Not only the threat of coastal exploitation and marine pollution, according to Chusmeru, conflicts such as those that occurred in Natuna are also an example of the challenges faced by Indonesia. Therefore, the Solidarity concept in the AIS Summit needs to be implemented in the form of mutually beneficial conflict resolution.

From an economic perspective, holding the 2023 AIS Forum Summit can also bring benefits to the development of coastal tourism in Indonesia because it will create collaboration and innovation among forum members. From this collaboration, welfare-oriented economic development can be established. 

Chusmeru added that it is time for coastal tourism to be handed over to tourist villages because they have Human Resources (HR) who know exactly about the tourism potential in their area. Tourist village managers are also considered to really know how to preserve the environment in their area.

In its implementation, the AIS Summit will be chaired by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, namely Mr. Luhut Binsar Panjaitan based on Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 20 of 2023 concerning the National Committee Organizing the AIS Summit. Mr Luhut and several other ministers were part of the Committee. 

The AIS Forum has an important role as a forum for island and island countries to contribute to bringing resolutions to global problems and raising voices and concerns for island countries. The implementation of this summit will later become a strategic platform to strengthen the AIS Forum’s concrete programs in various fields throughout island countries and archipelagic countries. The AIS Forum continues to be dedicated to facilitating cooperation and innovation between island and archipelagic countries. With the First Summit held in Bali in October, this will mark a historic moment in its journey as a global forum.

)* The author is a Coil Contributor

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