AIS Forum Starts in Nusa Dua

Indonesia is hosting the first high-level meeting of the AIS (the Archipelagic and Island States) Forum in Nusa Dua on October 10 and 11, 2023 and according to reporting from Antara News, the forum has committed to making breakthroughs and pursuing innovative and smart solutions for sustainable oceans.

Since its establishment in 2018 through the Manado Joint Declaration at a ministerial meeting attended by 21-countries, the AIS Forum has emerged as an international partnership for developing innovative solutions for challenges faced by AIS nations. Its membership has increased to 51-nations.

With the theme of “Fostering Collaboration, Enabling Innovation for Our Ocean and Our Future,” the meeting is expected to strengthen the forum’s role in producing innovative and smart solutions. The AIS Forum is also expected to be a platform that pushes for global maritime governance, say Antara News.

The upcoming meeting, which will be opened by President Jokowi, is expected to be attended by 25-heads of state, more than 30-ministerial-level officials, nine international organizations, and six international non-governmental organizations, with the goal of producing a joint declaration by AIS leaders that will aim to establish the forum as a treaty- or charter-based international organization, and one that can produce concrete cooperation programs.

Together with several parties, the AIS Forum has developed several smart and innovative solutions to address four main issues: climate change, the blue economy, handling plastic waste in the oceans, and good maritime governance.

According to a statement released by the AIS Forum’s media team, these innovative solutions have been developed based on reliable data, modern technology, and creative financing mechanisms, say Antara News.

“Our initiative turns big challenges into opportunities for innovation and creative thinking. For instance, the Seagrass Carbon Converter (SCC), which is a web-based application for calculating carbon stocks and absorption in seagrass beds,” the team added in its statement.

Developed by the AIS Forum Secretariat in collaboration with the Oceanographic Research Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the application can estimate carbon stocks and sequestration in coastal areas and seagrass beds in AIS member countries, say Antara News.

Seagrass is a green plant that grows on shallow seabeds. It is considered the best carbon sink that can control climate change. Every hectare of seagrass meadows can absorb 6.59-tons of carbon per year.

According to the media team’s statement, the SCC uses a formula that uses the biomass value, density, and percentage of seagrass cover to arrive at carbon inventory and sequestration values.

The SCC app is expected to help all parties, especially island and archipelagic countries, understand the potential blue carbon balance of seagrass ecosystems.

In addition, the AIS Forum and BRIN have developed the Carbon Inventory For Seagrass Ecosystem (CISE) mobile application to assist relevant stakeholders in reporting the potential blue carbon balance of seagrass ecosystems. The app can be used to monitor the levels of carbon produced in certain seaweed areas, say Antara News.

In 2021, a mobile-based CISE application was developed to perform substantive material calculations and made available on Android and IOS.

Next, in collaboration with BRIN, the AIS has also developed the Mangrove Health Index (MHI) app to measure the health of mangrove ecosystems.

Mangroves are known to help stabilize coastlines and reduce the impact of storm surges and flooding by slowing water movement and trapping sediment.

MHI can help archipelagic and island countries mitigate the impact of sea-level rise.

Antara News report that in addition, the AIS Forum has produced innovative research on monitoring the development of mangroves and underwater conditions to support marine governance and climate change mitigation efforts.

The AIS Forum has also carried out successful joint funding to develop an underwater monitoring tool called ARHEA, or Advanced Drifter GPS Oceanography.

Source: Antara News

Image by Oleksandr Sushko on Unsplash

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