Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — A group of countries from Southeast Asia and the Pacific came together at the Rio+20 Summit this week to showcase their combined efforts to save the Coral Triangle, one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically rich marine regions on earth.
On the world stage at Rio, Brazil, at a high level side event hosted by the Government of Indonesia, the Coral Triangle countries renewed their commitment to the multi-country partnership ‘Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security’ (CTI-CFF).
In 2009, the six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste) signed onto one of the world’s most comprehensive regional marine and coastal resource management plans.
They agreed to an ambitious and visionary 10-year Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) to safeguard the Coral Triangle’s marine and coastal biological resources.
Strategically, the Initiative has goals and regional priority actions to address the major threats to the region’s marine biodiversity and resources, many of which are common threats faced around the globe.
The strategies are also demonstrably effective actions which are strategically placed to deliver on marine and oceans related priorities arising from the Rio+20 Summit.
The CTI-CFF side event at the Rio+20 Summit was attended by Indonesia’s Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries, together with the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Malaysia’s Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, the Philippines’ Undersecretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Timor Leste Vice Minister for Economy and Development.
A number of the countries expressed their vision for developing blue economies, recognising the importance of people-centred approaches and healthy marine ecosystems to the livelihoods, income and sustainable development of their countries.
His Excellency Sharif C. Sutardjo, Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia said “Indonesia is strongly committed to the CTI-CFF as an implementing framework for developing a blue economy.”
WWF, a development partner to the Coral Triangle Initiative, congratulated the countries for their leadership, and commitment.
“WWF shares the vision for the Coral Triangle Initiative to be an implementing framework for developing blue economies that can derive economic and social benefits from oceans in an efficient, equitable and sustainable way,” said Yolanda Kakabadse, WWF International President.
Kakabadse also congratulated the Australian Government for its announcement committing eight million (AUD) dollars to the Initiative and welcomed the interest in the Coral Triangle expressed by the Government of Germany.
“As one of seven development partners to the CTI-CFF, WWF offers continued support to the Initiative, and remains committed to helping achieve the critical political, economic and social force capable of leading the rapid and large-scale changes required to halt and reverse the threats facing the Coral Triangle,” said Ms Kakabadse.
“The Coral Triangle is an illustration of the importance of countries cooperating on a regional basis to provide sustainable management of their significant and shared ocean and coastal resources to secure the linkages between healthy ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods and incomes” she added.
Indonesia’s Minister for Marine Affairs and Fisheries extended an invitation to the Coral Triangle countries to attend a CTI-CFF summit at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which will be hosted by Indonesia in 2013.
The Coral Triangle—the nursery of the seas—is the world’s center of marine life, encompassing around 6 million sq km of ocean across six countries in Asia-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
It is home to 76% of the world’s known coral species, 37% of the world’s coral reef fish species, and commercially-valuable species such as tuna, whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, including 6 of the world’s 7 known species of marine turtles.
The Coral Triangle directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna. Its reef and coastal systems also underpin a growing tourism sector.
WWF is working with governments, local communities, businesses, and consumers to promote sustainable development in this region. For information on Coral Triangle go to: www.panda.org/coraltriangle
For further information:
Dr Lida Pet Soede, Leader WWF Coral Triangle Programme, ph: +628123818742
Jackie Thomas, Deputy Leader WWF Coral Triangle Programme, ph: +679 7771199