Davao and the World Ocean Conference

After its successful hosting of the international Climate Change Summit in Bali last year, Indonesia will again host one of the world’s biggest environmental conferences next year – the World Ocean Conference in Manado, North Sulawesi on May 11-15, 2009.

Davao City should take advantage of this very important event and cash in on its ripple effects across the Celebes Sea.

One, Manado is a sister-city of Davao and we should extend our assistance to it in hosting this conference.

Second, Davao may be considered as the “northern gateway” to Manado. North Sulawesi’s Sam Ratulangi Airport can be reached through Jakarta and Bali to its south, via Singapore to its west and Davao to the north.

Thousands of participants to the conference – heads of states, top scientists and academicians, environmentalists, NGOs, media, etc. will be flying to Manado. Davao can offer itself as its northern passage. By then, Davao has direct flights from Hongkong and Taipei (Cebu Pacific) which could play as the hub for participants flying in from Europe, north Asia and North America.

Third, there would be plenty of opportunities for pre and post conference activities around the month of May. Davao can hold or host a number of these to take advantage of the presence of eminent personalities.

Davao can also offer special tours and exposure trips to the participants to the city showcasing its best practices in marine conservation like the turtle sanctuary, mangrove forest, and the Davao Gulf Development initiative.

Fourth, an ambitious event could be the holding of a sort of Davao-Manado Yacht Race or Davao-Manado fluvial parade in time of the opening of the conference. The Celebes Sea is the future Caribbean and a Davao-Manado cruise trip could be developed out of this idea.

I propose that the city take advantage of this big event. It would be a coming out party for Manado, and we should not miss this opportunity to play a supporting role.

(8:29 a.m.)