Integrated coastal management is essential in supporting sustainable development. This topic was highlighted in the Integrated Coastal Management Program Development and Natural Climate Solution Promotion Workshops via a partnership framework, the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) in Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province, held by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara. (YKAN) and supported by PT Bank HSBC Indonesia on January 19 – 20, 2022.
With a coastline of approximately 2,258.65 km long, Riau province has a coastal area dominated by swamp and mangrove ecosystem with a total area of 224,568.42 hectares (RPE Riau Province, 2019). Mangrove ecosystems in Riau Province, including Bengkalis Regency, keep being threatened. Most of the threats are land conversion, wood harvesting for charcoals and building materials, and unsustainable shrimp aquaculture. Therefore, restoration steps need to be implemented as soon as possible.
“We welcome the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance (MERA) Program in Bengkalis Regency as one of the programs that its concepts and goals aligned with the vision that we want to achieve, which is to materialize glorious, advanced, and prosperous Bengkalis Regency that aligns with the sustainable environmental management goals and strategies,” explained Kasmarni, Regent of Bengkalis.
The key success to sustainable mangrove management is a collaborative action supported by excellent planning. This statement was emphasized by Mamun Murod, Head of Riau Province Environment and Forestry Office. “It is important to have a multi-stakeholder forum at the provincial and regency level. This forum is hoped to aid the coordination to support the acceleration of mangrove ecosystem restoration,” explained Mamun.
Integrated mangrove management and restoration are very important and need support from all parties, including the private sector. Francois de Maricourt, President Director of PT Bank HSBC Indonesia, stated, “As a part of HSBC commitments in promoting the transition to be carbon-neutral in Indonesia, we support MERA program, initiated by YKAN, to support the program of Indonesian Government in reducing greenhouse gas emission and increasing the coastal and community livelihood resiliences in Bengkalis Regency. We hope that this program can be a model for sustainable mangrove protection and restoration in other areas in Indonesia.”
Expectation for Sustainability
There are 25 coastal villages in the Bengkalis Regency that are very dependent on the environmental services of the mangrove ecosystem. However, various pressures on the mangrove ecosystem can be one of its management challenges. Supports and commitments from the village governments are needed to overcome those pressures. “Mangrove can be one of the livelihood resources for the village if it was managed sustainably. Some efforts that the village governments can make are creating budget plan and regulation that supports conservation efforts, increasing community awareness on the importance of sustainable natural resource management, and always opening the opportunities to develop partnerships with various parties. With these efforts, it is hoped that the village can be more independent and coastal communities can be more empowered,” explained Yuhelmi, Head of Bengkalis Regency Village Community Empowerment Office.
Partnerships with various parties are hoped to strengthen the community’s viewpoints on integrated coastal management. “We expressed our gratitude for the MERA program in our area, Teluk Pambang Village and Kembung Luar Village, for providing more knowledge to our community in managing mangrove sustainably,” said Muthu Saily, Head of Bantan Sub-district.
A similar expectation was also expressed by Syamsul Bahri, an activist and mangrove conservationist from Teluk Pambang Village. “Mangrove is very important to our coastal community. MERA Program in Teluk Pambang Village and Kembung Luar Village will help the community tremendously manage mangrove better,” said Syamsul.
Integrated restoration and management are essential matters that need to be done under the context of integrated coastal management. “The effort to conserve and restore mangrove is the responsibility of all of us. This spirit is carried through MERA. MERA is a national multi-party platform initiated by YKAN to reduce coastal community vulnerabilities, protect natural resources and assets, and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. The potentials of mangrove and coastal areas in Bengkalis Regency needs to be developed sustainably, and the high pressure against these areas needs to be well-managed so that it could provide benefits to the environment, communities, and future generations,” said Herlina Hartanto, the Executive Director of Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara.
About PT Bank HSBC Indonesia
HSBC has been operating in Indonesia since 1884 and is currently serves customers throughout Indonesia. PT Bank HSBC Indonesia is a member of HSBC Group which offers Commercial Banking and Global Banking services for Corporate and Institutional customers, Global Markets for Treasury dan Capital Market management as well as Wealth and Personal Banking.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.