As a maritime country, Indonesia has a very strategic position. According to Valencia (1981), there are three things that influence state’s view about sea, in a maritime state perspective. Firstly, development of marine technology to provide economic and defense needs. Second, national awareness and expectation to get potential resources from sea. Third, the “common property” perspective of world ocean might be ineffective and crushed with each nation’s national interest. Thus, sea has a very important position in national strategy.
In this point, World Ocean Conference, which was held in Manado, May 11 to 14, 2009, bring two spirits: to prevent further destruction of world’s ocean and to reaffirm each nation’s view about ocean. These spirits is borught to respond global warming which has made the ice sheets in antartica and Greenland melted. By holding these spirits, World Ocean Conference issues six things: ocean governance and management, ocean environment and sustainability, ocean disaster mitigation, ocean as next frontier, coastel management, and marine protected areas with its legal aspects and shipping issues.
What are significances of this World Ocean Conference?
We should know, firstly, that this conference is an intergovernmental meeting. This conference will issues many oceanic problems which cannot be solved by only one nation. Coraltriangle Initiative Summit, for example, provide many informations and debates about the fate of ocean’s future. This momentum is used by policy-makers in fishery and maritime aspects to save this earth from further destruction.
This event also enable civil society to speak their aspiration and being heard by world community. Environmental advocacy often failed from its objective because of the lack of publicity from media. Within this conference, civic engagement will meet its momentum to spread their campaign in saving this earth.
According to the conference website, the main focus of this year’s conference is climate change and its impact in ocean. The climate system and the pressure to the world’s oceans have changed. The regulation that constitutes and governs the use the ocean, The Convention on the Law of the Sea, (UNCLOS) 1982, is now 27 years old. This condition should be responded by world’s leader if we do not want the ocean to be more destructed.
Although there has been many controversies behind this conference, We can predict that this year’s conference will produce many important points which can influence the policy from state or company who exploit the ocean resources. Manado, whose sea resources is the most prospective in Indonesia, become a witness for an important meeting of ocean scientists and policy makers to make a decision about ocean in five or more years ahead.
In my opinion, This year’s World Ocean Conference should also look for the more powerful legal basis of Law of the sea. UNCLOS should also rule the position of developed countries responsibility in exploring and exploiting the ocean resources. One of the causes of global warming is the massive industrialization which does not care the need of future of generation in using the resources. Law of the Sea should also be care about environmental effect of ocean destruction, like coral reef or the underwater life.
So, the more power a nation gets, the more responsibility it should take. For this year’s World Ocean Conference, we say: Save our Environment!