A global meeting on the future of the world's oceans opened in Indonesia on Monday with discussions aimed at helping set the stage for December's climate change talks in Denmark.
Officials from over 70 countries met in Manado city for the five-day World Ocean Conference, a ministerial-level meeting touted as the first major global talks on the role of oceans in mitigating climate change and global warming.
Environment, fisheries and resources ministers are expected to pass a joint declaration aimed at influencing talks in Copenhagen in December that will discuss a successor to the expiring Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Host Indonesia says it hopes to broaden the scope of any future climate agreement to encompass marine environments.
"It is clear that our precious marine resources are under dire and increasing threat and that in many parts of the world climate change will accelerate their destruction," Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said at the conference opening.
"Adaptation and mitigation measures are urgently needed to be taken up not only to save marine and coastal resources but also to save the coastal communities."
Leaders from six countries -- Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, East Timor, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea -- will meet on the sidelines of the conference to launch a plan to save the Coral Triangle, an underwater ecosystem that is home to more than half the world's coral reefs.