UN Verifies Names of 16,056 Indonesian Islands

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation
Date 19 Agustus 2017
Category: News
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pulauThe United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) has verified the names of 16,056 islands owned by Indonesia.

Previously, the Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia had earlier listed the names of 2,590 islands with the UN during the 30th UNGEGN meeting and the 11th UN Conference on Geographical Name Standardization held at the UN Headquarters, New York, on August 7-18 2017.

Thus, gazetteer, or the list of topographic names, of 16,056 islands — containing information on the names, coordinates, and locations — within the territory of Indonesia has been standardized in the UN until July 2017.

Deputy to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs for Maritime Sovereignty Affairs Arif Havas Oegroseno said Indonesia had listed 17,504 islands located within the territory of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). “There remains 1,448 islands that need validation and verification process,” Arif said in Jakarta on Saturday (19/8).

With climate change and various nature irregularities, he added, several islands have emerged, while several other islands have disappeared due to abrasion.

Arif also said that the verification of islands and their names continued to be done in order to ensure Indonesia’s geographical certainty. He added that the registration of topographic names in the UN, as an administrative activity, plays a very important role for the UN member states. “The goal is to maintain the standardized names of the islands, so that there would be no single island with different names,” Arif said.

Nevertheless, he asserted that registration of a name of an island does not mean a sovereign recognition by the UN for a country’s ownership of the island. “The position of the UN, particularly the UNGEGN, is clear, i.e., it only carries out the standardization of names. It does not give any recognition of sovereignty or legal status of an island,” he said.

For the record, besides registering the gazetteer of those 16,056 islands, the Indonesian Delegation, led by Head of the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) Zaenal Abidin, also reported other issues, including the appointment of BIG as an institution in charge of deciding topographic names replacing the National Team of Topographic Name Standardization, which has been dismissed.

Zaenal also reported other activities related to topographic names in Indonesia, seminar, and technical guidelines on toponymical issues, as well as research and publication on toponymical issues.

The Indonesian Delegation also comprises officials from Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, and academicians from the University of Indonesia. They also presented six technical presentations and became panelists in a discussion called “Making Geographical Names Data Accessible and Available” and Vice Chair in the Second Technical Committee related to Toponymical Data Files and Gazetteers. (Biro Informasi dan Hukum Kemenko Kemaritiman/EN) (EP/YM/Naster) 

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