CSEAS Indonesia

Events

Perlu penelitian lanjutan dampak mikroplastik bagi Kesehatan

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Prof Sunardi dari Centre for Environment and Sustainability Science (CESS) Universitas Padjajaran (Unpad) mengatakan bahwa diperlukan penelitian lebih lanjut terkait bahaya mikroplastik khususnya dampaknya terhadap kesehatan manusia. “Beberapa penelitian menjelaskan efek negatif sampah mikroplastik bagi kesehatan manusia, antara lain mengganggu sistem saraf, memunculkan gangguan hormone dan kekebalan tubuh, hingga paling parah meningkatkan resiko kanker. Ini perlu penelitian lanjutan,” katanya pada kursus online terkait Analisis Mikroplastik di Bandung, Kamis.

Pada siaran pers Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) yang diterima di Jakarta, Kamis, Sunardi mengatakan, mikroplastik adalah potongan kecil berukuran kurang dari 5 milimeter yang dapat mencemari lingkungan dan makhluk hidup di dalamnya. Bahaya mikroplastik ini telah banyak ditemukan mencemari sungai-sungai di Indonesia.

Sementara Direktur eksekutif CSEAS Dr Arisman mendukung pendapat Prof Sunardi, di mana negara-negara ASEAN sudah mempunyai ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combatting Marine Debris yang dalam dokumennya menjelaskan perlunya penelitian tentang mikroplastik secara regional khususnya ASEAN.

“Empat negara termasuk: China, Indonesia, Filipina, dan Vietnam adalah kontributor terbesar polusi plastik laut global, di mana tiga adalah negara anggota ASEAN,” katanya.

Ia menjelaskan, mikroplastik seringkali mengalir secara langsung maupun tidak langsung ke lingkungan perairan seperti sungai dan danau, dan akhirnya masuk ke laut.

Sekitar delapan juta ton sampah plastik dari daratan dilaporkan memasuki lautan setiap tahun atau setara dengan 15 ton sampah per menit.

Menurut Arisma, industrialisasi yang pesat dan pertumbuhan ekonomi negara-negara anggota ASEAN dalam dekade terakhir, otomatis diikuti dengan peningkatan konsumsi dan memunculkan potensi timbulan sampah yang sangat besar tidak terakomodir dengan baik oleh pengembangan pengelolaan dan infrastruktur sampah yang efektif.

Oleh karena itu, CSEAS bekerjasama dengan CESS Universitas Padjadjaran d bawah Proyek Kerjasama ASEAN-Norwegia tentang Peningkatan Kapasitas Lokal untuk Mengurangi Polusi Plastik di kawasan ASEAN (ASEANO) mengadakan kursus online terkait Analisis Mikroplastik dengan tujuan untuk peningkatan kapasitas bagi para ahli mikroplastik.

“Kursus itu online itu untuk memperkuat penggunaan analisis mikroplastik dan untuk meningkatkan pengetahuan para pakar di Indonesia,” katanya.

Pada acara itu Dr Rachel Hurley dari Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA) menjelaskan metode dan analisis mikroplastik yang mencemari perairan.

Ia juga bersedia untuk bekerja sama dengan lembaga riset atau universitas di Indonesia dalam rangka harmonisasi metode dalam bentuk kegiatan Interlaboratory Comparison (ILC).

Mikroplastik tidak hanya mencemari lingkungan saja, tetapi juga dapat mengganggu ekosistem di darat dan di laut. Bahkan, saking kecilnya ukuran sampah mikroplastik, tidak menutup kemungkinan bahwa sampah ini dapat terkonsumsi secara tidak sengaja oleh manusia, melalui hewan atau tumbuhan yang hidup di ekosistem yang tercemar.


Kurangi Sampah Plastik, APEKSI Beberkan Beberapa Tantangan

Katadata, 29 Mei 2022 – Asosiasi Pemerintah Kota Seluruh Indonesia atau Apeksi mengingatkan pemerintah untuk terus terlibat dalam penanganan dan pengolahan sampah plastik. Asosiasi juga berupaya mendorong potensi pengembangan Usaha Mikro Kecil Menengah atau UMKM ramah lingkungan.

Hal itu dibahas dalam lokakarya rangkaian HUT Apeksi ke-22 di Bandar Lampung, Sabtu (28/5). Forum tersebut, mayoritas dihadiri oleh para Kepala Dinas Perindustrian dan Kepala Dinas UMKM dari seluruh anggota Apeksi. Direktur Eksekutif Center for Southeast Asian Studies atau CSEAS, Arisman menyadari bahwa proyek penanggulangan sampah, terkhusus sampah plastik yang merupakan program jangka panjang. Untuk itu, diperlukan kerja sama dan konsistensi antar lembaga.

Dia menambahkan, Pemerintah tingkat lokal baiknya mengajak pihak industri untuk secara bersama menyelesaikan persoalan sampah plastik. Selain itu, pemerintah dinilai perlu membangun kepercayaan kepada pihak industri, bahwa program atau paket kebijakan yang progresif terhadap lingkungan tidak mengganggu bisnis mereka. “Langkah pendek sepertinya enggak ada ya. Ini langkah perjalanan, pola pikirnya harus diubah. Mungkin bisa edukasi ke industri lokal dan kecil, minimal mengurangi penggunaan plastik karena menghilangkan itu memang sulit,” kata Arisman. Berdasarkan laporan Minderoo Foundation Mei 2021, setiap warga Indonesia menghasilkan sembilan kilogram (kg) sampah plastik sekali pakai. Hal tersebut menjadikan Indonesia sebagai negara dengan buangan sampah plastik sekali pakai per kapita terbesar keenam di Asia Tenggara pada 2019, setara dengan Filipina.

Sementara itu, Wali Kota Banjarmasin, Ibnu Sina menyampaikan untuk mengurangi penggunaan plastik di wilayahnya. Pemerintah Kota (Pemkot) Banjarmasin mengadakan Program Pasar Bebas Plastik yang dimulai sejak akhir 2021. Program tersebut dilakukan di dua pasar tradisional, yakni Pasar Pandu dan Pasar Pekauman.

“Harus ada tindakan konkret yang dilakukan hari ini,” kata Ibnu saat menyampaikan presentasinya. Di samping itu, dibutuhkan juga kerja sama untuk menggerakkan minat, inisiatif dan kepedulian masyarakat terhadap potensi bahaya dari penggunaan plastik secara berlebihan. Jika ketiga hal tersebut sudah terbentuk dan dilakukan secara konsisten, Ibnu menilai program tersebut akan tumbuh menjadi budaya yang tak akan hilang, meskipun wali kota dan kepala dinas berganti.

“Memang harus ada pendekatan terus-menerus dengan para pedagang tradisional. Kalau tidak dilakukan secara konsisten, pelan-pelan akan hilang. Libatkan komunitas dan jangan bosan-bosan untuk menyapa para pedagang di pasar,” ujarnya.

Kehadiran program Pasar Bebas Plastik di Banjarmasin, diharapkan mampu mendorong seluruh pedagang dan konsumen mulai membiasakan diri untuk tidak lagi menggunakan plastik sekali pakai saat berbelanja. Apalagi setiap Pemerintah Daerah diwajibkan oleh Pemerintah Pusat untuk melakukan pengelolaan sampah sebesar 30% dan 70% untuk penanganan sampah. Pengelolaan sampah dirasa lebih sulit karena mengatur tentang produksi dan aspek pelarangan tertentu. “Harus berbicara dengan produsen karena akan ada aturan dan aspek pelarangan-pelarangan tertentu. Sedangkan yang 70 % ini sampah sudah jadi,” ujarnya. Ibnu menilai, harus ada inovasi pemilahan dan bank sampah non-organik. Di antaranya, seperti rumah cacah, dan pemberdayaan dasa wisma untuk membuat kompos skala rumahan. Dengan begitu, ada tindak lanjut dari penerimaan sampah plastik. Direktur Pengembangan Bisnis Indonesian Packaging Federation, Ariana Susanti mengatakan penanganan sampah plastik harus dimulai dari manajemen sampah dengan struktur paling rendah, yakni rumah tangga. Menurutnya, perlu adanya kolektifikasi dan pemilahan sampah yang memisahkan antara sampah plastik untuk diolah kembali.

Selain itu, perlu adanya sejumlah regulasi yang mengatur agar wacana yang hanya ramai di acara diskusi publik, bisa diterapkan di lapangan. Ariana mengatakan perlu adanya insentif bagi rumah tangga atau asosiasi yang menjalankan regulasi tersebut. Pemilahan sampah bisa dimulai dari lingkup rumah tangga. 

Tak hanya itu, upaya penanganan sampah di Indonesia juga memerlukan insentif. Berkaca pada Jerman dan Jepang, Ariana mengatakan kalau asosiasi pengolah sampah di sana memperoleh insentif. “Perlu adanya regulasi dan konkret. Perlu kampanye yang menyasar anak-anak muda yang saat ini peduli pada isu lingkungan,” ujar Ariana.

CSEAS gelar diskusi pengelolaan sampah di Jawa Timur

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Pusat Studi Asia Tenggara Indonesia (CSEAS) menyelenggarakan diskusi tentang pengelolaan sampah berkelanjutan di Jawa Timur, kata CSEAS dalam keterangan tertulis di Jakarta, Jumat.

Kegiatan itu merupakan bagian dari program “Rethinking Plastics” yang mendapat dukungan dari sejumlah lembaga internasional, termasuk Uni Eropa, badan pengembangan Jerman GIZ, dan badan publik Expertise France​​​​​​​

 Diskusi itu digelar secara berkelompok terarah (FGD) di Kabupaten Malang dengan mengangkat tema “Peran Pemangku Kepentingan dalam Pengelolaan Sampah Berkelanjutan”, sebagai bagian dari upaya meningkatkan kapasitas di tingkat lokal.

Program peningkatan kapasitas itu ditujukan untuk pengelolaan sampah secara berkelanjutan dan menargetkan tanggung jawab produsen secara luas terhadap kemasan plastik.

Tujuan dari kegiatan FDG itu adalah untuk mendapatkan informasi tentang praktik baik dan kebijakan terkini terkait pengelolaan sampah dan mengetahui langkah-langkah yang telah dijalankan atau sedang dijalankan oleh berbagai pemangku kepentingan dalam pengelolaan sampah di Kabupaten Malang, serta menjalin kerja sama potensial dengan berbagai pihak dan pemangku kepentingan, kata CSEAS.

Kegiatan itu juga dihadiri oleh berbagai pihak yang memiliki andil dalam upaya pengelolaan sampah berkelanjutan di daerah itu, termasuk perwakilan dari Dinas Lingkungan Hidup Kabupaten Malang, Organisasi Pemulihan Kemasan Indonesia (IPRO), bank sampah, lembaga swadaya masyarakat, perusahaan daur ulang plastik, akademisi, dan tokoh masyarakat.

Acara yang digelar di tempat pemrosesan akhir (TPA) Tulungagung itu menghasilkan kesepakatan berupa komitmen dari semua pihak untuk memainkan peran dalam mengelola sampah.

 

Selain gelaran FGD tersebut, CSEAS juga telah melakukan sejumlah program di bawah kerangka program pengelolaan sampah secara berkelanjutan, termasuk kegiatan aksi bersih-bersih di Desa Kendalpayak di Kabupaten Malang.

 

“Perlu komitmen semua pemangku kepentingan untuk menuju pengelolaan sampah yang berkelanjutan,” kata Arisman selaku Direktur Proyek dari CSEAS.

 

CSEAS Ajak Produsen Kelola Sampah Secara Bertanggung Jawab

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — Pusat Studi Asia Tenggara Indonesia (CSEAS) menyelenggarakan diskusi tentang pengelolaan sampah berkelanjutan di Jawa Timur. Kegiatan itu merupakan bagian dari program “Rethinking Plastics” yang mendapat dukungan dari sejumlah lembaga internasional, termasuk Uni Eropa, badan pengembangan Jerman GIZ, dan badan publik Expertise France​​​​​​​.

Diskusi itu digelar secara berkelompok terarah (FGD) di Kabupaten Malang dengan mengangkat tema “Peran Pemangku Kepentingan dalam Pengelolaan Sampah Berkelanjutan”, sebagai bagian dari upaya meningkatkan kapasitas di tingkat lokal. Program peningkatan kapasitas itu ditujukan untuk pengelolaan sampah secara berkelanjutan dan menargetkan tanggung jawab produsen secara luas terhadap kemasan plastik.

“Tujuan dari kegiatan FDG itu adalah untuk mendapatkan informasi tentang praktik baik dan kebijakan terkini terkait pengelolaan sampah dan mengetahui langkah-langkah yang telah dijalankan atau sedang dijalankan oleh berbagai pemangku kepentingan dalam pengelolaan sampah di Kabupaten Malang, serta menjalin kerja sama potensial dengan berbagai pihak dan pemangku kepentingan,” kata Arisman, Direktur Proyek dari CSEAS.

 

Kegiatan itu juga dihadiri oleh berbagai pihak yang memiliki andil dalam upaya pengelolaan sampah berkelanjutan di daerah itu, termasuk perwakilan dari Dinas Lingkungan Hidup Kabupaten Malang, Organisasi Pemulihan Kemasan Indonesia (IPRO), bank sampah, lembaga swadaya masyarakat, perusahaan daur ulang plastik, akademisi, dan tokoh masyarakat.

Acara yang digelar di tempat pemrosesan akhir (TPA) Tulungagung itu menghasilkan kesepakatan berupa komitmen dari semua pihak untuk memainkan peran dalam mengelola sampah. Selain gelaran FGD tersebut, CSEAS juga telah melakukan sejumlah program di bawah kerangka program pengelolaan sampah secara berkelanjutan, termasuk kegiatan aksi bersih-bersih di Desa Kendalpayak di Kabupaten Malang.

“Perlu komitmen semua pemangku kepentingan untuk menuju pengelolaan sampah yang berkelanjutan,” kata Arisman, Direktur Proyek dari CSEAS.

 

Kemitraan Global Percepat Pembangunan Berkelanjutan

Percepatan ekonomi hijau terus ditularkan banyak negara, termasuk ke Indonesia. Diharapkan, kemajuan ekonomi Indonesia berpijak pada kegiatan ramah lingkungan serta menuju tujuan pembangunan berkelanjutan.

JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Kemitraan global telah mendorong percepatan ekonomi hijau dan pembangunan berkelanjutan bagi sejumlah negara, termasuk Indonesia. Selain sektor lingkungan, program dari kemitraan global juga berdampak positif terhadap kesejahteraan ratusan ribu masyarakat di tingkat bawah.

Hal tersebut mengemuka dalam webinar bertajuk “Mempercepat Kemitraan P4G dan Kepemimpinan Indonesia dalam Pertumbuhan Hijau dan Tujuan Global 2030”, yang diselenggarakan Kedutaan Besar Korea Selatan, Selasa (23/2/2021). Webinar tersebut merupakan pra-acara untuk menyambut penyelenggaraan Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi P4G Seoul ke-2 yang akan digelar secara virtual pada 30-31 Mei di Seoul, Korea Selatan.

Direktur Global Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals (P4G) Ian de Cruz menyampaikan, program P4G telah mendorong percepatan ekonomi hijau dan pembangunan berkelanjutan bagi negara-negara mitra, termasuk Indonesia. Sektor yang turut terdorong di antaranya energi, pangan dan pertanian, keuangan inovasi, dan industri pengelolaan sampah.

Kami membutuhkan negara-negara mitra untuk mereplikasi sejumlah program P4G di tingkat nasional seperti Indonesia sehingga P4G dapat terus memberikan dampak. (Ian de Cruz)

Saat ini, papar Ian, P4G telah menginvestasikan dana hingga 292 juta dolar AS untuk negara-negara mitra. Secara global, dampak dari kemitraan P4G antara lain telah mengurangi emisi hingga 110.000 metrik ton karbondioksida dan meningkatkan kesejahteraan lebih dari 500.000 orang di akar rumput.

“Kami membutuhkan negara-negara mitra untuk mereplikasi sejumlah program P4G di tingkat nasional seperti Indonesia sehingga P4G dapat terus memberikan dampak. Investor dan lembaga keuangan juga perlu berinvestasi bersama dengan P4G agar dapat meniru model bisnis yang lebih berkelanjutan,” katanya.

Direktur Sumber Daya Energi, Mineral, dan Pertambangan Kementerian PPN/Bappenas Yahya Rachmana Hidayat menyatakan, platform nasional P4G dapat diimplementasikan dalam kolaborasi antar pemangku kepentingan. Hal ini sekaligus juga dapat menjadi jalan bagi swasta untuk mendukung tujuan pembangunan nasional dan global.

Sejumlah hal yang akan ditindaklanjuti ke depan, kata Yahya, yakni memperkuat kerjasama P4G nasional dengan melibatkan sektor swasta dan masyarakat sipil guna menuju target pembangunan berkelanjutan (SDG) pada 2030. Kemitraan dalam P4G juga akan dikolaborasikan dengan sejumlah agenda di kementerian/lembaga terkait lainnya.

Indonesia merupakan salah satu dari 12 negara anggota kemitraan P4G yang didanai oleh pemerintah Denmark dan Belanda serta dioperasionalisasikan di World Resources Institute. Tahun lalu, Kementerian Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional/Badan Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional (PPN/Bappenas) telah meluncurkan platform nasional P4G mendorong dan mempercepat pertumbuhan ekonomi hijau serta pembangunan berkelanjutan di Indonesia.

Saat ini P4G telah mendukung sejumlah kemitraan di Indonesia, di antaranya mulai dari akses pendanaan untuk investasi dalam efisiensi energi, pengurangan dan daur ulang sampah plastik, sertifikasi budidaya pertanian berkelanjutan, peningkatan akses investasi energi baru dan terbarukan, hingga pengurangan penggunaan plastik dalam kegiatan usaha.

Indonesia should work jointly through cooperation for better future

National Development Planning Minister/ National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Head Suharso Monoarfa during a national webinar on circular economy to support green economy and low-carbon development held virtually in Jakarta on Monday (25/1/2021). ANTARA/HO-Bappenas/am.

 

Jakarta (ANTARA) – National Development Planning Minister/ National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Head Suharso Monoarfa called for Indonesia to work closely through international cooperation, public-private partnerships, and cross-sectoral integration for a brighter future.

“We must ensure that low-carbon, green growth development strategies are mainstreamed in our economic recovery stimulus package,” Monoarfa noted in a statement in Jakarta on Thursday.

The statement was made at a pre P4G Summit 2021 webinar in Jakarta on Tuesday (Feb 23).

The webinar titled “Accelerating P4G Partnerships and Indonesian Leadership on Green Growth and Global Goals 2030” was jointly organized by Indonesia’s leading think tank — the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) — and the Korean Embassy in Jakarta in cooperation with the Bappenas, Embassy of Denmark, and P4G Global Hub.

The webinar featuring three ministers from Indonesia, Denmark, and South Korea; diplomats; scholars; government officials; businesspersons; and non-governmental organizations drew 530 participants from across the globe.

The international webinar was a pre-event of the Second P4G Summit 2021 in Seoul, South Korea. The summit will be held on May 30-31, 2021. The First P4G Summit was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2018.

“Through the engagement and cooperation of the private sector, government, and civil society organizations, we hope P4G would become the world’s leading forum for developing concrete and innovative public-private partnerships at scale to achieve green, climate-resilient, and inclusive economic growth,” the minister stated.

“At this pandemic-induced crossroads, I expect Indonesia to show its strong leadership in building back better, greener, and more inclusive through the P4G by engaging all stakeholders,” Environment Minister of the Republic of Korea H.E Jeoung-Ae Han emphasized.

Korea looks forward to the role of P4G that brings together various countries, businesses, and civil societies from several continents.

The very essence of P4G is to foster partnerships that will have tangible impacts on the market and can be broadly applied in different parts of the world in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and under the efforts to achieve the SDGs.

“The webinar aims to: (1) Strengthen the momentum for the National Platform launch in Indonesia in February 2020 (2) Promote the 2021 P4G Summit and opportunities to showcase and accelerate P4G partnerships and Indonesian leadership on green growth (3)Showcase the P4G impact model and accelerate key P4G partnerships,” Executive Director of CSEAS, Indonesia, Arisman stated.

Arisman is optimistic that this event would aid in identifying opportunities and obstacles faced and suggesting innovative solutions in terms of accelerating P4G partnerships and Indonesian leadership on green growth and achieving SDGs, especially Goal 2 – Zero Hunger, Goal 6 – Clean Water & Sanitation, Goal 7 – Affordable & Clean Energy, Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities & Communities, and Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

KKP Encourages Circular Economy to Increase Fisheries Products Values

Jakarta (Greeners) – Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) encourages circular economy dubbed as blue economy in the industry to support the government’s commitment to tackle waste issues and increase added values.

“In 2017, the government had promised investment of one billion dollar per year to tackle plastic waste and aim to reduce to 70 percent in 2025. This is not a small number. Our government is showing domestic and international commitments. Are we ready to take up this challenge?” said Maman Hermawan in Jakarta on Wednesday (06/02/2019).

Hermawan said the fisheries processing products are still producing wastes. With circular economy and blue economy, he added, processing products will be maximized and wastes can have economic values.

“Circular economy in fisheries sector is similar to blue economy. We capture fish or process one tons of fishes in the market has less value because we just sell fish meat. With blue economy and circular economy, fish will be processed by making use all part. Normally, the bones or scales will be thrown off but with circular economy, all parts of fish have values,” he said.

Furthermore, he said that those parts of fish can be turned into other products such as collagen and fish oils for margarine. These processing have been implemented in Japan, China and Vietnam.

“In Vietnam, fish meat can be used as fillet and its oil can be raw material for margarine. It indicates that the products made from wastes have higher values than fish meat. This is circular economy. If everything is linear, then we will push (circular economy),” he said.

Meanwhile, executive director for Center foe Southeast Asian Studies, Arisman, said that circular economy in fisheries requires commitments, willingness and collaboration from all parties. Arisman said circular economy has only being discussed at the waste management level and not all are willing to implement the method.

“The circular economy in fisheries industry can come from the products, however, it will feel hard if only industry is talking. If aiming to plastic waste, the ministry needs to be concerned about wastes stuck in fishermen nets which can be turned into other products. This requires skills. Or, packaging from the products no longer using plastics,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the ministry wants to push circular economy in fisheries so there’s a huge commitment especially from the industry.

In addition, he said the ministry no longer aiming on small producers for circular economy.

Blue economy is initially launched under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his speech in Leaders Valuing Nature, in Brazil, June 2012.

Two ministers lead beach cleaning action in Kuta

Kuta, Bali, (ANTARA News) – Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi led the beach cleaning action at Kuta Beach, Bali, Saturday (Oct 27) which is one of the Our Ocean Conference (OOC) program series.

“We have protected the sea from Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated Fishing. Now what we see as pollution in the sea is garbage. I call on all people to stop using plastic,” Susi said before starting the action.

She added that Indonesia could emulate some small countries in Africa that have not used plastic any more.

“So, from now on there is no more plastic bottle in the office. Drink water from gallons with a tumbler. Can we do it? We can say our sea is our future, so don`t make it dirty,” Susi said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the action to clean the beach was a small contribution but could inspire people to clean the beach from plastic waste.

“The sea is not a trash can. Our ocean is our life, so love your sea like loving your life,” Retno said.

She added that the spirit of the National Youth Oath Day which falls on October 28 is commemorated with the spirit of unity and cooperation, and it would be brought to the 5th OOC held on October 29-30, 2018 in Bali.

Earlier, the two ministers along with several ambassadors of fellow countries have released 1,000 hatchlings on Kuta Beach.

Elementary school student Nafisnu Canggah Sangidu took part in beach cleaning action. He said he only got six pieces of garbage.

“Today I only get little garbage because the beach has been cleaned this morning,” he said, adding that he had participated in the action for three times.

The 5th OOC in Bali has six areas of actions, namely, marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, and maritime security.

At the 2017 Our Ocean hosted by the European Union in Malta, Indonesia announced that the country would establish 200,000 square kilometers of conservation areas by 2018, covering 6.5 percent of Indonesian waters.

In addition, Indonesia announced it would restore the 18,882 square meters damaged coral reefs in the Dampier Strait off Raja Ampat (West Papua, Indonesia).

Sydney Declaration affirms Asean-Australia relationship

Asian Correspondent, AUSTRALIA and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) issued a joint statement on Sunday, asserting shared commitment to cooperation in trade, cybersecurity, counterterrorism and the adoption of a code of conduct for the South China Sea.

Named the Sydney Declaration and issued at the culmination of the Asean-Australia Special Summit from March 16 to 18, the document declares a “new era” in the “increasingly close” relationship between the regional bloc and its southern neighbour.

Commerce and counterterrorism were the two major themes of the Summit – which was the first time representatives from all 10 member states have met in Australia – and saw the announcement of a raft of new joint initiatives.

With a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion in 2016, Asean represents the world’s sixth largest economy and Australia’s fourth largest trading partner with total trade worth US$93.2 billion in 2016.

Professor John Blaxland, Director of the Australian National University (ANU) Southeast Asia Institute and Head of Strategic & Defence Studies Centre told Asian Correspondent that the Summit marked a “serious inflection point” for Australian policymaking.

“Southeast Asia is fundamental to Australia’s security,” said Blaxland. “There is now a bipartisan recognition that we’ve got to take Asean more seriously … especially as the circumstances in our neighbourhood have become more troubled.”

Counterterrorism and the South China Sea

The Sydney Declaration declared a “strong commitment to regional peace and security as well as peaceful resolution of disputes”, noting the need for freedom of navigation, specifically in the South China Sea, as well as calling upon North Korea to comply with UN Security Council resolutions.

It called for the “early conclusion” of a code of conduct for the South China Sea, leading an article published in the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times on Monday to argue that “Australia risks damaging its own interests” if it speaks out against Beijing.

The Sydney Declaration also reasserted cooperation between law enforcement, customs and immigration on countering transnational crime issues including trafficking of drugs, arms and wildlife.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Australia and Asean on “Combating terrorism and violent extremism” announced workshops on detection and prosecution of online terror crimes and greater intelligence sharing on terrorist financing.

Five months after the siege of Marawi in the Southern Philippines, in which Islamic State-inspired militants fought Philippines security forces resulting in hundreds of deaths, the MOU announced the “establishment of a series of regional dialogues and forums with Asean and Australian law enforcement partners, aimed at combatting the threat of ISIL-affiliated terrorists.”

“Counterterrorism and commerce are two areas that are easy to discuss,” former intelligence expert for the Australian Defence Department and a Visiting Professor at the ANU College of Law, Clive Williams, told Asian Correspondent.

“Some of the counterterrorism ideas are good and sensible, but I can see some problems with this,” he said, stating that Asean states each have differing definitions of terrorism, “so coming up with a regional approach would be difficult.” In cases such as Thailand’s deep south or the southern Philippines, members of separatist movements are automatically deemed terrorists, said Williams.

“Of the five Asean countries with security problems, three (Thailand, the Philippines, Burma) have problems of their own making. We (Australia) would say ‘if you had better policies then you wouldn’t have these problems’,” he said.

Yet if Australia had concerns about human rights in the region, they were not broadcast, instead raised with respective leaders behind closed doors.

“Regarding human rights in Asean, for sure it’s not easy to discuss,” said Arisman, the Executive Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) in Jakarta. “In Asean we’re used to consensus and respecting the nation-state.”

Trade and building Asean

The Sydney Declaration also said that as “highly trade-oriented economies”, Asean and Australia were committed to “resisting all forms of protectionism” and to “free and open markets”. Turnbull reportedly declared that there were “no protectionists around the table” at Asean at the conclusion of the summit.

While this is not entirely true in practice, said Dr Sanchita Basu Das of the Asean Studies Centre a research fellow at the Asean Studies Centre at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, it sends an important message amid the “global environment at the moment.”

“The summit took place just after President Trump’s announcement about the introduction of tariffs,” she said, noting the importance of Asean-Australia not buying into rhetoric of a trade war. “They were telling people we want free and open trade. At least saying that loudly and clearly is very important at this juncture.”

Digital trade and entrepreneurship was emphasised in the Sydney Declaration, with Arisman stating that Australia could assist the less developed countries in Asean to develop their cyber capabilities and infrastructure. “Australia looks at Indonesia as one of the big markets for the digital economy,” he added.

On Sunday night, the Australian government announced the Asean-Australia Infrastructure Co-operation initiative aimed at creating a pipeline for private and public funds for projects across the region, in what may be seen as a counter to China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

“Australia seen as one of the leading countries for public-private partnerships and in big infrastructure projects in the country itself,” said Sanchita, who said the country could provide significant ongoing assistance in terms of Asean integration.

Four new educational initiatives to boost Asean-Australia engagement were also announced, including a regional dialogue involving academics and business leaders focused on skills required for infrastructure development.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs said the education initiatives would help build more “practical and meaningful partnerships” between “emerging leaders”.

Around 100,000 Southeast Asians are studying in Australia, representing around 1 in 5 of all international students there. Professor Blaxland said that to date, they have been viewed as a disaggregated population, however altogether Asean students are just as important as Indians or Chinese in terms of international student numbers.

More broadly, he said the wide-ranging focus of the Sydney Declaration “points to the breadth and depth of the relationship now”.

ASEAN discusses management of ocean plastics

VietnamNews,Jakarta (VNA) : A two-day forum on policy and initiatives to manage marine plastic pollution in ASEAN member countries opened in Jakarta, Indonesia, on December 5.

The forum attracted over 100 participants from Indonesian ministries, ASEAN research institutes, the ASEAN Secretariat, and non-governmental organisations.

Discussion was set to focus on current situation and impacts of ocean plastics, and regional collaboration and initiatives related to the issue. The event looked to put forth recommendations for policy making to reduce marine pollution in Southeast Asia.

Addressing the regional forum, deputy head of the German Mission to ASEAN Hendrik Barkeling said inland plastics dumped into the sea will increase if economies continue expansion without proper urban waste management.

The amount of marine plastics was forecast to double in 2025.

Arif Havas Oegroseno, Indonesian Deputy Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Resources, said the Indonesian Government is working to curb plastic pollution at sea, adding that tough measures might be employed to punish agencies and firms violating regulations on marine environment protection.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, deputy head of the Norwegian Mission to ASEAN Hilde Solbakken lauded the organisation of the event, as marine pollution is now a pressing issue in the world. She noted ocean plastics threaten the growth of the fishery sector. She said that the Norwegian Government is carrying out measures to limit the dumping of plastics into the sea and recover the marine environment, adding that 80 percent of the work was done.

The ASEAN has a coastline spanning 173,000 km.-VNA