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AIS Forum Summit, Momentum for Indonesia to Bring Together the World’s Island Countries 

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By : Muhammad Hasyim )*

The Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum High Level Conference (Summit) will be held for the first time by Indonesia in Bali on 10-11 October 2023. Indonesia will host an international forum for island and archipelagic countries in the world. Not only that, the AIS Forum Summit is a global initiative that brings together island and archipelagic countries to take part in a collective forum to address the challenges of exploiting marine resources for sustainable economic growth, resilience to climate change, marine pollution, emergency management and improving fisheries sustainable.

This forum is a continuation of side discussions at the 2017 Maritime Conference in New York City and the follow-up conference of the Islands and Island Countries Forum in Jakarta in 2017, a common understanding was born between AIS participating countries. The Archipelagic and Island Countries Forum was then officially formed through the adoption of the Manado Joint Declaration at the first Ministerial Meeting of participating countries on 1 November 2018.

Since its inception, AIS was designed as an open, inclusive forum, which would become a concrete node of cooperation and collaboration for various island and archipelagic countries throughout the world. The AIS Forum collaboration focuses on four main areas of cooperation in the development and maritime sector, namely implementing a blue economy ( circular economy ), climate change adaptation and mitigation, overcoming marine pollution, especially plastic waste in the sea, and better marine and maritime governance.

The AIS Forum Summit will discuss a number of important issues ranging from the blue economy , dealing with marine waste, to  illegal fishing . Senior Advisor for Climate and Environmental Governance, AIS Program Manager Abdul Wahib Situmorang said the AIS Forum would have a positive impact on fishermen. He continued that in the context of protecting and utilizing the sea sustainably, various smart solutions are needed that are relevant to the current situation. The AIS Forum exists to offer and work on solutions that can be implemented by both developed and developing countries.

AIS Forum has carried out various activities in island and archipelagic countries. These include entrepreneurship training for young people and business people in Vanuatu and cooperation in Fiji in the form of distributing marine health measuring devices. Throughout 2023, the AIS Forum will also carry out activities in Jamaica, Guyana, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom. This forum is considered not only to be a forum that meets once a year, but is designed to carry out real activities with the government and stakeholders, especially young people and women. Together solving the problems of island countries such as climate change, marine pollution, especially plastic waste, and managing the sea.

Deputy for Maritime Sovereignty and Energy Coordination at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Jodi Mahardi, said that at the next summit there would be another emphasis on the need for AIS countries to strengthen their commitment and solidarity in facing common challenges. According to him, the AIS Forum is important as a forum for countries. island and archipelagic countries to contribute to bringing resolutions to global problems and raising voices and concerns for island countries.

Apart from that, President Joko Widodo signed Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 20 of 2023 concerning the National Committee for Organizing the 2023 Island and Archipelagic State Forum High Level Conference (KTT) or the Archipelagic and Island State Forum Summit (2023 AIS Forum Summit). The President appointed the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Menko Marves) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan as the person responsible for holding the AIS Summit in Indonesia 2023. Deputy Chair I is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Chair II Responsible for Substance is the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Sakti Wahyu Trenggono. 

The members responsible for substance include Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas Suharso Monoarfa, and other relevant ministers. In the Presidential Decree, it is stated that the person responsible for the substance sector is tasked with, among other things, preparing and carrying out activities in the substance field in organizing the 2023 AIS Forum Summit. In addition, preparing and preparing work plans, budgets and activity reporting, as well as carrying out monitoring and evaluation in the substance field in support the organization of the 2023 AIS Forum Summit to be presented to the steering committee. 

Another task is to carry out coordination and communication related to the substantive sector with countries, international organizations, other international partners, and participants of the 2023 AIS Forum Summit. Apart from those responsible for the substantive sector, the President also formed a team responsible for the Event Organizing, Logistics and Infrastructure Sector, and Responsible for Communication and Media, Responsible for Security, Responsible for Health. Meanwhile, President Jokowi is the director who leads the National Committee for the AIS Summit. Apart from the President, the steering members are the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia Ma’ruf Amin, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, and Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy.

Therefore, the hopes of state leaders are how in the future the AIS Forum Summit will continue 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 so far. conducted by AIS Forum. President Joko Widodo’s message is that no political issues will be discussed at the 2023 AIS Summit, but remain focused on the objectives of holding the AIS Summit.

)* The author is an observer of social problems

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