Leaders of archipelagic and island countries agreed to transform the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum into an international organization. The agreement was reached at the forum’s first high-level meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on Wednesday, October 11, 2023.
Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said this was part of the Leaders’ Declaration on the Solidarity of the Archipelagic and Island States Forum, which was adopted by 32 of the 51 participating countries.
“The leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation within the context of AIS Forum to become more charter-based towards the formation of an international organization,” Retno said in a press conference after accompanying President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the plenary session of the AIS Forum Summit on Wednesday.
The basis for the establishment of the AIS Forum is the Manado Joint Declaration, which took place on November 1, 2018. Therefore, Retno said that the leaders of the archipelagic and island countries will soon discuss the roadmap for the formation of the organization’s charter.
The leaders, Retno continued, would assign their ministers to carry out this task. “The leaders tasked the ministers and the SOM (Senior Officials Meeting) to start discussing the roadmap and the mandate of the modalities,” she said.
The joint declaration also outlined four priorities for future cooperation. They are climate change mitigation and adaptation, a cooperation priority on the blue economy and ecotourism, marine waste and plastic debris at sea, and good maritime governance.
According to Retno, unlike other international forums, which tend to have a top-down approach, the AIS Forum prioritizes collaborative programs and innovative, community-based solutions.
“So when we talk about the issue of inclusiveness, we walk the talk. We are truly inclusive, we are community-based from the bottom up, and we involve all stakeholders,” said Retno Marsudi.