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Leaders of Maritime Countries Strengthen Diplomatic Relations at AIS Forum 2023 Bali

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By: Wina Arifah )*

Indonesia, with its natural beauty and status as the world’s largest archipelago, will play host to a historic moment in regional diplomacy. Archipelagic and Islands States (AIS) Forum 2023 will soon be held in Bali, marking the first summit bringing together island states from around the world. This forum is not only about protecting maritime matters for all member states, but also about building stronger diplomatic relations in an increasingly complex era.

As an archipelagic country, Indonesia has a deep understanding of the importance of sustainable marine resources and the challenges it faces. This AIS Forum initiative reflects awareness of the vulnerability of island countries to climate change, marine pollution and other marine problems. However, more than just discussing these issues, this forum is an opportunity for leaders to strengthen their diplomatic ties in facing shared challenges.

The main idea of ​​the initiation of the AIS Forum is as a  platform  implemented by the Indonesian Government, with support from UNDP Indonesia, which was initiated in 2017 and is designed to cover dozens of archipelagic countries and archipelagic countries, regardless of their area, size and level of development.

For information, Project Coordinator of the AIS Forum Secretariat, Riny Modaso, said that the AIS Forum continues to be dedicated to facilitating cooperation and innovation between island and archipelagic countries, with the upcoming activity, namely the First Summit in Bali, which will mark a historic moment in its journey as a global forum.

Abdul Wahid Situmorang, Senior Advisor for Climate Governance at UNDP Indonesia, also emphasized that for archipelagic countries, the sea is the main basis of the economy, and solutions are needed that can benefit the country itself and other developing countries.

One of the main focuses of the AIS Forum 2023 is climate change and its impact on the ocean. Island countries are often the most affected by climate change. Rising sea levels, extreme weather and damage to marine ecosystems are issues that must be faced seriously. In situations like these, collaboration is key, and the AIS Forum offers  the ideal platform  for these issues.

Leaders from island nations around the world must unite to tackle climate change. Including sharing experiences and strategies in dealing with the increasingly real impacts of climate change. Apart from that, this forum also provides an opportunity to ask for support from other countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting climate change mitigation efforts.

Marine pollution is a global problem that requires serious action from the international community, and marine pollution is another issue that will be discussed at the AIS Forum 2023. Plastic pollution and other marine pollution have damaged marine ecosystems and have an impact on human life. Healthy oceans are the key to maintaining the economic and social sustainability of island countries.

In facing this problem, island countries must work together to find effective solutions by exchanging information on efforts to clean up and reduce plastic waste, as well as designing stricter policies regarding the use of single-use plastics. This collaboration can also bring economic benefits, such as increasing sustainable marine tourism.

Apart from environmental challenges, the AIS Forum will also discuss maritime security issues. As in the Southeast Asia region, there are territorial disputes that require serious attention, other island countries are often involved in disputes over maritime territorial boundaries, marine resource exploration rights, and water security.

This forum can be a forum for building constructive dialogue and finding peaceful solutions to these disputes. Leaders certainly take advantage of this opportunity to promote peace and stability in the region and avoid conflict escalation.

Not only for leaders of island countries, the AIS Forum 2023 also offers great benefits for coastal communities. Many coastal communities depend on marine resources for their livelihoods. This forum exists to help formulate action plans to improve the welfare of coastal communities, provide better access to sustainable marine resources, and support local economic development.

So, more than just discussing maritime issues, the 2023 AIS Forum also opens up opportunities to build strong diplomatic relations between island countries. In an increasingly complex world, having strong diplomatic relations is essential. Leaders use this forum to establish contacts, strengthen bilateral cooperation, and build extensive diplomatic networks. These strong relationships can provide long-term benefits, such as increasing trade, investment and tourism.

The upcoming AIS Forum 2023 in Bali is not just about protecting the ocean, but also about building stronger diplomatic relations between island nations. Leaders have a responsibility to work together to address shared challenges, such as climate change and marine pollution, and to promote peace and stability in their regions.

This forum will be a historic moment in regional diplomacy, and Indonesia, as host, has the opportunity to lead this collaborative effort. With strong cooperation and high commitment, leaders of island countries around the world will create a better future for marine and coastal communities. Bali, with its unique natural beauty, will be a witness to this joint effort towards a brighter future.

)* The author is an Alumni of STIE Indocakti

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