Indonesia’s ambitious plan to establish a new capital, Nusantara, in East Kalimantan, presents a unique opportunity to integrate sustainable Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) into the developmental framework. The Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has partnered with the Fujian Institute of Sustainable Ocean (FISO), Xiamen University, to leverage their expertise. The collaboration has been discussed by both parties since March 2023, facilitated by IPB University, Gadjah Mada University, and Arafura and Timor Seas Phase II (ATSEA-2). 

To kick-start this collaboration, FISO-Xiamen University and the Directorate General of Marine Spatial Planning and Management of the Indonesian MMAF organised a training workshop in Xiamen, China from 2 to 8 December 2023. The workshop brought together 30 participants, encompassing representatives from MMAF, the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, the ATSEA-2 Project and IPB University. This event marked the commencement of a higher-level collaboration between MMAF and the China Oceanic Development Foundation (CODF). The workshop aimed to equip government officials and partner universities with the skills needed for MSP in the Balikpapan Bay region.

Despite the geographic focus extending beyond the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS), the inclusion of ATSEA-2 allowed for the sharing of valuable insights and experiences, including the development of the MSPs around the region. These contributions enhanced the overall training by providing a broader perspective on MSP challenges and opportunities.

The opening ceremony, hosted by Prof Xue Xiongzhi of FISO, featured remarks from key representatives of both Indonesian and Chinese delegations. Their shared vision emphasised the importance of the partnership in integrating land and sea use, fostering knowledge exchange, and implementing MSP strategies in both countries.

Prof Xue, Dean of FISO, Xiamen University presents the certificate of completion to Deti Triani (ATSEA-2)

The workshop agenda comprised a lecture series addressing key themes such as MSP for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Utilisation, Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), a case study examining MSP and the Blue Economy in Fiji, and another case study exploring MSP in Malaysia.

Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to engage in a field visit to Xiamen marine waters, where they observed real-world examples of integrated MSP implementation. This visit underscored the importance of sustainable development practices, particularly through the application of the Integrated Coastal Management approach. The approach, which takes into account both environmental conservation and social considerations, offered valuable insights applicable to the Arafura and Timor Sea region.

Beyond sharing knowledge specific to the ATS region, the training has provided lessons from the implementation of MSP in diverse locations, notably in Malaysia and Fiji. The learnings from these experiences offer a wealth of practical knowledge and strategies that hold the potential to be effectively applied within the unique context of the ATS region.

By Deti Triani