Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, Governor of North Sulawesi, Indonesia, welcomed participants to the 2009 World Ocean Conference (WOC2009) on Monday, 11 May, and provided an overview of the challenges and opportunities in marine resource management within his province. He highlighted that his province has achieved harmony among a high level of cultural and ethnic diversity. He noted that the region is endowed with a wealth of marine resources, including some of the world’s most diverse coral reef systems, but lamented that these resources are in decline.

Freddy Numberi, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, described the impacts of climate change on the marine environment, and said that it is incumbent upon the world’s decision-makers to develop environmentally sound policies for integrated coastal management in support of long term sustainable use of marine resources. He called for: increased research on the impacts of climate change on the marine environment; assessment of the adaptation needs of coastal communities; and financial resources for the implementation of action plans. Numberi highlighted the potential for the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) to build stronger political will among countries within this region. He concluded by officially opening WOC2009.