Tue, 28 Jan 2003

RI to assess Arafura, Timor seas

JAKARTA: Indonesia will work in partnership with East Timor, Australia, and Papua New Guinea to assess the ecosystems of the Arufura and Timor seas to help manage them better.

The partnership was kicked-off at a two-day workshop beginning on Monday. The workshop was attended by officials and experts from the governments, international institutions and non- governmental organizations to obtain agreements on the overall process of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) proposed by the Global Environment Facility.

With the assessment, participating countries expected a better understanding of the critical role the ecosystems played in sustaining livelihoods and reducing poverty.

"One of the purposes of the assessment program is to meet the needs of the users to anticipate the economic, social and public health consequences of ecosystem change," MEA spokesman Marcus Lee said.

The assessment, to focus on eastern Indonesia, will be coordinated by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the office of the State Minister for the Environment and the Ministry of Forestry. --JP