Marine spatial planning is a practical way to regulate the use of marine areas spatially, to minimize conflicts over the use of space in the sea, balancing economic and ecological needs. This is according to the Secretary of the Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Kusdiantoro, in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.

Apart from that, marine spatial planning is also an important instrument for encouraging development in coastal and marine areas. "Marine spatial planning is one of the MMAF's blue economy policy programs in the pillars of management and supervision of coastal areas and small islands," explained Kusdiantoro.

This was revealed by Kusdiantoro, during a series of working visits by the Xiamen University Fujian Institute Sustainable Ocean (FISO) Team to Balikpapan, at the end of February. The observation visit in Balikpapan Bay was intended to gather information and strategic issues regarding the use of space in Balikpapan Bay, in the process of preparing masterplan for Balikpapan Bay. 

The making of masterplan involved relevant stakeholders, as well as support from academics. These are experts from FISO Xiamen University who have more than 30 years of experience and learning in implementing sustainable and integrated development in Xiamen City, China.

"It is hoped that this observation can obtain initial information about the planning area, activity plans and stages of preparing the Balikpapan Bay master plan within the framework of Joint Marine Spatial Planning Project. Therefore, commitment and involvement of relevant stakeholders is very necessary to support the sustainable use of Balikpapan Bay space," said Kusdiantoro.

As for an information, the series of observation work visits in Balikpapan Bay -which were carried out from the end of February to the beginning of March 2024, was a follow-up to the Memorandum of Agreement on Advancing the Blue Economy Development Through Marine Spatial Planning between the Directorate General of PKRL and the China Oceanic Development Foundation of the People's Republic of China which was signed in December 2023 in Xiamen.

Responding to this, the Head of the Balikpapan City Land and Spatial Planning Service, Neny Dwi Winahyu, explained that the strategic position of Balikpapan Bay, which is in ALKI 2 -which is also the main gateway, has an important role in supporting sustainable and integrated development in the capital city of the archipelago (IKN).

Professor Xue from FISO Xiamen University said that FISO really welcomed the implementation of cooperation in the field of marine spatial planning, which was signed between MMAF and CODF in 2023. This is to ensure resource sustainability and see economic potential through a marine spatial planning approach in Balikpapan Bay -which in the process involves the community in the development of Balikpapan Bay.

"FISO has also collaborated with various parties, such as in Trengganu, Malaysia, which has now entered phase 2. It has also invited parties in Indonesia to visit Xiamen and collaborate in the field of marine spatial planning and other fields," concluded Xue.