The World Ocean Conference that opened on Monday in the northern city of Manado will shape the scientific debate ahead of final negotiations to replace the U.N. treaty on global warming in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.
The Kyoto Protocol, the most important document on climate change, expires in 2012.
Officials hope the meeting on Sulawesi island will boost recognition of the need to protect oceans and marine ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide.
One of the gathering's main goals will be to create a permanent international forum to coordinate conservation attempts and counter the impact of rising oceans blamed on higher temperatures.
Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, will host a simultaneous summit of leaders from the Coral Triangle Initiative, a grouping of six Asian countries comprising one of the world's richest marine areas.The three-day gathering will be attended by host Indonesia and leaders from Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and East Timor, whose territories boast 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 3,000 fish species.