Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to speak at this national workshop on ocean accounting in Indonesia. This presents an important milestone towards achieving the high ambitions of the Government and people of Indonesia to ensure sustainable development of the oceans.
The multi-year programme related to ocean accounts which you have embarked on is immensely important; it is already an inspiration to other countries and will continue to be so as you progress with the ambitious coordination, data collection and technical analyses that will be needed for it to be successful.
The oceans are a critical global resource that provides livelihoods, nutrition and intangible benefits to individuals worldwide. Billions of people in the Asia-Pacific region alone rely on oceans for their well-being. Indonesia is no exception.
The oceans face a range of difficult challenges that threaten their sustainability and the sustainability of the communities that depend on them. Overfishing, land-based pollution that flows into oceans, including plastics, degradation of marine habitats such as corals, mangroves, and seagrasses and the warming and acidification of the ocean due to climate change are some of the many ongoing pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems.
Developing effective and rigorous approaches to account for the multiple benefits associated with coastal and marine ecosystems provides a mechanism for ensuring that the often-overlooked values of oceans enter into national and global balance sheets.
Much as accounting for economic flows through GDP drives policies related to the growth and stability of the economy, accounting for benefits related to the environment can drive policies that support the protection and conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.
The latest Sustainable Development Goal progress report for Asia and the Pacific did not have encouraging news for the region related to Goal 14, Life Below Water. While there has been progress related to the areas of oceans in protected status, there has been a regression in terms of water quality and sustainable fisheries. Moreover, only three of the ten indicators for Goal 14 are measurable in the region. Pressing actions are needed to reverse this trend and increase the availability of data.
ESCAP will continue to support country efforts to implement ocean accounts, with pilot activities planned or underway in several Pacific Island nations. We will also provide technical support to other member States interested in implementing ocean accounts or seeking advice as they produce ocean accounts. We look forward to supporting and learning from national initiatives, such as the Indonesian accounts being discussed today.
ESCAP will use lessons learned from national pilot efforts to inform the development of a global standard: a System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for oceans. We are working with the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership and colleagues at the UN Statistics Division to advance this standard and will continue to build collaborative and broad partnerships.
This event is important for Indonesia, given its reliance on coastal and marine ecosystems and its desire to move toward a blue economy. I trust today's discussions will set the groundwork for the eventual completion of a critical set of ocean accounts.
In conclusion, we are at a critical moment for advancing progress toward sustainable oceans. I note the work already underway and the future work planned related to ocean accounting in Indonesia. ESCAP remains committed to supporting the development of the ocean accounts, including ocean accounts in Indonesia.
I look forward to closely following the outcomes from this national workshop.
Thank you very much.