Indonesia Seeks Unified Fight by Island States against COVID-19

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NUSADAILY.COM – JAKARTA – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan urged island and archipelagic nations grouped in the Archipelagic and Island State (AIS) Forum to unite in addressing the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic felt by the entire world has changed various social structures. All island and archipelagic countries must uphold solidarity to solve this problem together,” Pandjaitan stated while chairing the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the AIS Forum themed “Fostering Solidarity Between Archipelagic and Island States: Towards a Sustainable Ocean Future” on Wednesday (Nov 26).

Five ministers, 24 representatives of participating countries, and six international organizations partook in the virtual meeting, according to the ministry’s statement here on Thursday.

The meeting discussed cooperation among member countries of the AIS and preparations for the first Summit of AIS.

The ministers explored cooperation in the maritime field that can boost innovations to optimize the blue economy strategy for global economic recovery.

“A pandemic cannot dampen our enthusiasm to continue to collaborate and solve the various existing challenges. The people of island and archipelago countries are formidable individuals. Flowing in our blood is the spirit of innovation, adaptation, usability, and result-orientation,” the minister affirmed.

Pandjaitan stated that 2021 will be a crucial year for all participating countries to strengthen collaboration and welcome the first Summit of AIS member countries’ Leaders.

Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio, as the session’s chairman, and Norimasa Shimomura, the permanent representative of UNDP in Indonesia as the session’s vice chairman, were also attendees at the AIS Forum meeting.

The meeting discussed four key topics: correlation between economic development and global environmental protection; blue economic cooperation strategy; sustainable marine investment to develop mechanisms; and various instruments to maintain sustainability of the global economy.

“These four key themes are correlated to one another in order to maintain and achieve sustainability of the world maritime sector and together we face the ongoing pandemic crisis,” Kusubandio stated.

Shimomura noted that the maritime potential was also one of the keys for the world to continually innovate and emerge from the current situation.

“The sea has myriad potential that support human life. This potential can provide an opportunity for the world to quickly recover from a pandemic by integrating the practice of developing the principles of sustainable living in order to balance human life as a whole,” Shimomura stated.

With a format not much different from the fifth High Officials level meeting held on November 10, 2020, all representatives of participating countries have time to provide inputs on the four main challenges and also reports on preparations for continuation of the upcoming first conference of the heads of state.

Hopes rode high at this meeting that all innovation, collaboration, and enthusiasm from all island and archipelagic countries would be maximally maintained. The various obstacles currently encumbering the world can be optimistically viewed and tackled. (sak/ant)

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