Anambas Expedition, a
Confidence Building Measure for
Pursuant to the final Statement of the Eleventh Workshop on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea (Cengkareng, 26 - 29 March, 2001), the Research and Development Agency of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia in cooperation with "Pusat Studi Kawasan Asia Tenggara", the National University of Singapore, and the Indonesian Science Institute (LIPI) will carry out an expedition called the "Anambas Expedition" to explore and study the biodiversity of Anambas Islands.
The expedition will take place from 9 to 23 March 2002, on board the research vessel "Baruna Jaya VIII" of LIPI. The experts on biodiversity come from countries around the South China Sea. Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, is scheduled to launch the expedition on Monday, 11 March 2002, at 15.00 PM, at Batu Ampar Port, Batam.
The "Anambas Expedition" is a breakthrough in exercising confidence-building measures for managing potential conflict in the South China Sea, involving interested parties in the South China Sea region. It will be the first expedition of its kind that involves scientists from the region. The expedition itself must be regarded as a collective endeavor in conducting marine scientific research in the area and in the framework of developing concrete programs of cooperation in managing potential conflicts through second track diplomacy. It also symbolizes a synergy between the first and the second track diplomacies, to establish closer ties between scientists and governments in the region and to provide concrete results for the benefit of the peoples in the region.
The expedition intends to explore the Islands of Anambas, a group of islands situated in the South China Sea, approximately 130 nautical miles Northeast of the Eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait, within the waters of the Republic of Indonesia. The Islands are located around 225 nautical miles from Batam Island and, at a moderate speed, can be reached in about 24 hours from the point of departure at Batu Ampar Port, Batam. Anambas Islands have been selected as a venue for the expedition essentially because they are a non-contentious area. In the spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding, the governments of the South China Sea region have contributed to the cost of the expedition. The expedition will be followed by a three-day workshop at the National University of Singapore. The results of the biodiversity survey will be further studied in various fields and its report will be discussed during the forthcoming 12th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea, which will be held in Bandung in May 2002.
Indonesia initiated the workshops on managing potential conflicts in the South China Sea in 1989. The workshops are conducted in an informal basis and attended by officials, experts, and academics in their personal capacities.
Jakarta, 8 March 2002