ATS region action to protect and revitalize the ocean 

events . 17 Jun 2022
ATS in holding webinar to celebrate World Ocean Day

Heaptalk, Jakarta – In conjunction with the World Ocean Day, the GEF/UNDP/PEMSEA Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA-2) Project conducted a virtual webinar on June 14th, 2022. The webinar is expected to bring together government, experts, professionals, the community, and the environment of the ATS region to discuss the importance of protecting and revitalizing our ocean. 

In addition to its crucial role in regulating the climate and weather patterns, the oceans are vital to the world’s economy. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), oceans contribute US$1.5 trillion annually in value-added to the overall economy, and this number could reach US$3 trillion by 2030. 

As cited in the OECD report, over three billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihoods, the vast majority in developing countries. In many of those, ocean-based industries such as tourism and fisheries are key sources of income and jobs.

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Impacting the lives of more than 1 million inhabitants with an economic value of US$7.3 billion per year, the marine environment in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region is under serious threat because of over-harvesting and other indirect impacts of human activity.

“With only 8 years to go to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, particularly the SDG14 ocean goal, it is critical that all perspectives are brought to the table, and diverse approaches are explored so that revitalization efforts can complement and amplify each other,” said Handoko Adi Susanto, ATSEA-2’s Regional Project Manager, 

“As we work to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, let us all come together to promote ocean science and meaningful innovations that will save the lifeblood of our planet.” Mr Handoko added. 

As an effort to tackle the crisis, ATSEA-2 is working to make a difference. In 2021, more than 32,000 individuals were successfully engaged by the Project through a series of coordinated regional and country efforts comprising a combination of FGDs, training sessions, workshops, surveys, and forums. 

Through the active support and participation of stakeholders, the Project has conducted detailed assessments and, engaged in discussions relating to regional governance; gained a better understanding of the nuanced social and environmental risks in project sites. 

The meeting also led to the completion of the regional and national social and environmental management plans for the ATS region, as well as the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Analysis and Action Plan; and completed several environmental thematic studies and assessments at the regional and national level. 

This year’s United Nations World Oceans Day highlights the theme “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean”. This year’s celebration becomes even more meaningful as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration- the first global conference which has placed the environment at the forefront of international concerns.

Organized in partnership with ArgoAsia and supported by Indonesia Ocean Pride and Coral Triangle Center, and UNDP Timor-Leste, ATSEA-2 aims to shed light on the communities, ideas, and solutions that are working together to protect and revitalize the ocean in the ATS region and everything it sustains.

The main speakers for the webinar include ATSEA Regional Project Manager, Handoko Adi Susanto; Executive Director of Coral Triangle Center, Rili Djohani; ATSEA Project Regional Biodiversity Specialist Cassandra Tania and UNDP Timor-Leste Head of Climate Change and Environment Unit Domingos Lequi Siga Maria.

The webinar also featured the Author of “Wild Colourful PNG” Randy K. Harwood; Deputy Governor of Nusa Tenggara Timur, Drs. Josef Nae Soi; as well as the Founder of Indonesia Ocean Pride and public figure Hamish Daud. 

Established in 2019, the ATSEA-2 Project supports the implementation of the following governance and environmental objectives of the ATS regional Strategic Action Program (SAP): (i) Strengthening Arafura & Timor Seas (ATS) regional governance; (ii) Recovering and sustaining fisheries; (iii) Restoring degraded habitats for sustainable provision of ecosystem services; (iv) Reducing land-based and marine sources of pollution; (v) Protecting key marine species; and (vi) Adaptation to the impacts of climate change.