Indonesia Counts Its Islands To Protect Territory And Resources

Indonesia covers 1.9 million sq km (741,052 sq mi) so counting all the islands that fit the UN criteria is no small task.

Off the coast of Jakarta, for example, there are the stunning Thousand Islands - where the capital's residents go on weekends. But no-one really knows exactly how many islands are even in that area.

The number of total islands in Indonesia listed under the 1996 law was just an estimate, and not verified by the UN criteria.

But at the last UN Conference on the Standardisation of Geographical Names in 2012, the Indonesian government registered 13,466 islands that it had located and named.

The counting team from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries told the BBC's Indonesian service they wanted to add at least 1,700 new islands at the next meeting in August.

In 2002, Indonesia lost two islands to Malaysia - after the International Court of Justice ruled against it in a territorial dispute - and two to East Timor when it became independent.

Environmentalists have warned that Indonesia could lose thousands of islands if sea levels continued to rise due to climate change.


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