Jakarta, InfoPublik – Indonesian delegation had registered 2,590 island names to the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) at the 30th UNGEGN meeting and the 11th UNCSGN (United Nations Conference on Standardization of Geographical Names) at the UN Headquarters in New York on Aug. 7—18.

The island gazetteer contains information on names, coordinates, and locations of 16,056 islands whose names have been standardized at the UN until July 2017.

According to Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs’ maritime sovereignty deputy Arif Havas Oegroseno, Indonesia has recorded 17,504 islands which belong to the sovereign territory of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

"There are still 1,448 islands that need validation and verification," said Havas in Jakarta, Saturday (8/19). He added that some islands appear or disappear due to abrasion, climate change, and other natural anomalies. 

The islands and island names verification continue to be conducted to specify the Indonesian geography. He explained that the registration of topographic names at the UN as an administrative activity is very important for UN member states.

"The goal is to maintain the naming standards of the islands so that there is no island has more than one name," said Havas. However, the island names registration is not an act of sovereignty recognition of an island by the UN.

"The position of the UN, in particular UNGEGN, is clear. It only establishes the standardization of the naming and does not give any recognition of sovereignty or any recognition of the legal status of an island," said the international maritime law expert.

In addition to registering the gazetteer containing information about the type, element, position, location, and name of the islands, Indonesian delegation led by the Head of Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) Zaenal Abidin also submitted another report. This report contains information that BIG is the new national geographical naming authority replacing the dissolved National Team on Topographic Name Standardization.

He also reported the activities of standardization of topographical names in Indonesia that include seminars, technical guidance, researches, and publications on toponymy.

Other members of Indonesian delegation were officials from the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs; the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs; the Home Affairs Ministry; the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry; and experts from the University of Indonesia (UI). They presented six technical expositions and became panelists in a panel discussion entitled "Making Geographical Names Data Accessible and Available.” They also served as the Vice Chair of the Technical Committee II on Toponymic Data Files and Gazetteers. (Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs' Information and Legal Affairs Bureau/Setkab/Translator: Erik Limantara)