Participants in the mangrove planting event in Jakarta, Indonesia (Photo: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – Delegations of the ASEAN member states, East Asian countries, the US, Japan, and India took part in planting mangroves within the Angke Kapuk Mangrove Ecotourism Park in Jakarta, Indonesia, on November 20.

Co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN, the mangrove planting event is part of the East Asia Summit (EAS) Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta. The activity reiterated ASEAN’s and East Asia Summit’s commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Opening remarks were made by Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, Hilman Nugroho, Indonesian Directorate General of Watershed and Forest under the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and Elizabeth P. Buensuceso, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to ASEAN.

They said mangroves offer “a variety of ecosystem services” and “act as major carbon sinks”.

“Mangrove conservation efforts will not only protect the environment, but also significantly contribute to climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction,” they stressed.

According to the officials, the ASEAN region houses one-third (51,049km2) of the world’s mangroves, with Indonesia alone accounting for over 20 percent of the total global cover. Key mangrove forests can be found in the Ayeyarwady delta in Myanmar, Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, and the extensive deltaic coastline along southern Papua in Indonesia. These forests are home to 51 mangrove species, which accounts for 71 percent of the total mangrove species found all over the world, making the region the global centre for mangrove diversity.

After taking part in planting mangroves, Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee said the event encourages practical activities and concerted efforts to protect the environment, particularly along the coastline.

Ambassador of the Indian Mission to ASEAN Suresh K Reddy lauded the meaning of the planting day to environmental collaboration and solidarity among participating nations.-VNA