World Mangrove Day has just been celebrated internationally on Wednesday (26/7/2023). The warning is a marker as well as an affirmation that the plants that make up the coastal ecosystem are a very important part of natural life.
Mangrove tree parts can be utilized, for example to be used as cosmetic/pharmaceutical raw materials or textile additives.
However, of all that, what is most expected to be put to good use is the potential for blue carbon. Currently, mangrove forests are part of this hope along with seagrass beds.
Not long ago, the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI) released a report on blue carbon ecosystems (EKB) which is believed to be a solution to addressing the impacts of climate change. The report explains that Indonesia has 17 percent of the world’s blue carbon reserves.
IOJI explained that the EKB includes mangrove forest ecosystems, seagrass beds, and salt marshes . All of these ecosystems act as carbon sequestration and storage .
Currently, the area of mangroves in Indonesia reaches 3,364,076 hectares and seagrass beds reach 293,464 hectares. Especially for mangroves, the value of ecosystem services per district throughout Indonesia has reached a valuation of USD 2 million to USD 50 million in a period of 30 years.
Even though the potential is enormous in Indonesia, IOJI said that the current EKB condition has long been threatened by anthropogenic pressure or caused by activities carried out by humans.
For example, aquaculture activities, mangrove clearing, agriculture, coastal development, pollution, and unsustainable/destructive fishing. All of that can put pressure on and threaten the health of EKB.
Threats like this are the background for the KKP to issue pressure to the international community to be able to work together and actively protect EKB. These efforts are also part of mitigation actions and achieving the target of reducing national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally.
The Director for Coastal and Small Islands Utilization of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Muhammad Yusuf recently explained that he voiced his call to the international community for EKB protection because it is an important part of implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation.
He said, the main step to ensure EKB gets proper protection and is managed in a sustainable manner, is to allocate its space in the marine spatial plan.
Moreover, because mangroves and seagrasses are the largest EKB in Indonesia to date. Not only do they play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) , mangroves and seagrasses are also very useful in supporting coastal biodiversity and community welfare.
“Indonesia believes that reducing greenhouse gas emissions from seagrasses can contribute to Indonesia’s next Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target,” he said.
Apart from EKB, which has great potential for climate change, Indonesia has also carried out marine climate action through the blue economy policies and strategies that are currently underway. Some of what has been prepared is quota-based measurable fishing and the development of sustainable marine, coastal and inland aquaculture fisheries.
Strictly speaking, Indonesia encourages the parties to think globally and act locally, and translate ocean climate action in a simple way. Thus, no matter how small the form will be applied by small communities.
The move was led by the Coordinating Minister for Coordination of Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. He discussed the carbon economy value policy ( carbon pricing ) with the UK.
The two countries agreed to sign the Implementation Arrangements for the UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (IA on UK-PACT) Carbon Pricing Program in Jakarta, Monday (24/07/2023). The UK is involved, because they are willing to disburse £2.7 million to support the development and coordination of a carbon economy value policy in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar recently revealed that to reduce GHG emissions in Indonesia, the most dominant source will come from forestry and other land uses (FoLU) and is targeted to reduce at least 60 percent of the total emission reduction target.
In order to achieve this target in 2030, one of the ecosystems that is expected to make a major contribution is EKB in coastal areas and small islands. The EKB study was prepared by integrating marine ecosystems which include mangrove forests, seagrass beds, estuaries or brackish water/salt water swamps, and coral reefs.
However, Siti Nurbaya Bakar said that the development of EKB is not only absolutely carried out in the marine and fisheries sector. But also, in wetland ecosystems such as mangroves and tropical peat.
In order for all the potentials of EKB to be of great benefit for climate change adaptation, regional spatial planning with conservation principles and island-based and community-based development is needed.
Then, carrying out regional development arrangements by identifying key problems , spatial planning, development clusters , and resource-based carrying capacity. Furthermore, economic and socio-cultural development with regional and land use plans.
“Fourth, infrastructure development on the basis of socio-economic benefits, transportation and communication facilities and facilitation of social and economic infrastructure development in growth centers,” he concluded.
Previously, the Director General of Marine Spatial Management of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Victor Gustaaf Manoppo explained that the potential for carbon sequestration in Indonesia’s coastal ecosystems was estimated to reach a total of 3.4 gigatonnes (GT).
Realizing the Concept of the Blue Economy in Indonesia
The Indonesian government is currently focusing on implementing blue economy principles in every development carried out in coastal and marine areas. This principle is claimed by the Government as the ideal and best principle for now.
Through the blue economy, development by utilizing all the natural resources in the sea and coast is expected to go hand in hand between economic and ecological needs.
This claim has been repeatedly campaigned by all state institutions and officials. The Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Sakti Wahyu Trenggono is no exception, who is the initiator of development in the coast and sea with the principles of the blue economy.
With this principle, he promises that the people in coastal areas will get a lot of benefits to be able to boost their respective economic lives so that they can reach the prosperous phase that many people dream of.
However, these principles have not yet been grounded in Indonesia, there have been many criticisms and assessments which state that these principles still receive many inappropriate assessments. That, can trigger a lot of negative impacts if not straightened out immediately.
This was revealed by Transparency International Indonesia through an analysis of the policies that have been made by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) regarding the blue economy. The analysis was made jointly with Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia and the Center for Agrarian Studies.
In addition, the successful implementation of a truly just and sustainable Blue Economy depends on the organic participation of subjects such as small fishermen, coastal and small island communities, as well as indigenous peoples and fisherwomen regulated by Law Number 7 of 2016 concerning Protection and Empowerment Fishermen, Fish Farmers, and Salt Farmers.
However, to realize this concept, a supportive regulatory and policy ecosystem is needed, which so far has been limited to the narrative of blue growth or “Blue Growth” which only focuses on economic growth.
This kind of policy is vulnerable to the practice of “Blue Grabbing” which can seize marine, coastal and small island resources.
In order to realize a true Blue Economy, consistent policies are needed in implementing Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution, which prioritizes equity and prosperity for the people and even the basic principles of a blue economy, namely implementing a circular economy.
National Coordinator of DFW Indonesia Moh Abdi Suhufan explained, if blue economy practices are still encouraged to be implemented by the Government, then a transparent, fair and sustainable corridor for utilization and management of marine, coastal and small island resources is needed.
The way to achieve this goal can only be done if the Government follows the blue economy policy guidelines. First, how can the government prioritize the main subjects of blue economy actors, namely small fishermen, local communities, and indigenous peoples in coastal areas and small islands.
Second, how can the Government implement a transparent and fair blue economy concept through easy access to up-to-date data, and integrated with information systems. Bearing in mind, currently the existing data sources do not seem to lead to one door and are integrated between Ministries/Institutions and stakeholders.
He gave an example, the data on the number of fishermen in Indonesia is still diverse, both in terms of data quality and detailed data quantity. Then, updating and integrating data must also run from the Government to the regions in an effective and appropriate manner.
Third, how can the Government ensure that participatory end-to-end monitoring mechanisms and law enforcement in blue economy policies can work well. This sign starts from strict supervision of the permits issued to domestic and foreign business actors and investors.
Then, supervision of the principle of traceability of a fair tax scheme for traditional fishermen and large-scale business actors, to the process of evaluation and due diligence on the sustainability of marine and fisheries governance.
Fourth, how can the Government encourage the management of sustainable marine, coastal and small island utilization, while at the same time accommodating local wisdom. This sign refers to article 33 of the 1945 Constitution by asking the Government to ensure that economic development is based on the principle of equity.
That means, development is carried out to realize equitable distribution of development and people’s prosperity. It is not based on investment interests and the principle of exploitative economic growth, which then leads to the appropriation of space and the rights of local wisdom.
Therefore, Moh Abdi Suhufan said that transparent implementation of the blue economy needs to be implemented through various development policy directions. Then, the blue economy also needs to side with ecosystem sustainability, as well as existing marine and capture fisheries and aquaculture resources with a priority on welfare and local wisdom.
Besides him, the policy paper containing the analysis was also jointly prepared with Maritime Agrarian Researcher from the IPB University Center for Agrarian Studies Ari Wibowo, and Transparency International Indonesia Researcher Bellicia A.
Ari Wibowo explained, the emergence of the blue economy concept in Indonesia, began with the Government’s target setting to encourage emission reductions to 31.89 percent in 2030, with international support targets of up to 43.20 percent.