As the host of the inaugural Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Summit, Indonesia is now looking at be-coming the permanent CTI secretariat to manage billion of dollars of financial aid from donor countries for use in protecting coral reefs scattered across the waters bounded by the six coral triangle countries.
Indroyono Susilo, the summit’s national committee secretary, said Indonesia and the Philippines had each submitted proposals to host permanent CTI secretariat office. “In terms of infrastructure, Indonesia is ready to host the CTI secretariat office. The decision will be made on May 15 during the state leaders’ summit,” he said Tuesday.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua and Timor Leste President Jose Ramos Horta will gather for the official launch of the CTI on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Securities on Friday.
The interim CTI secretariat office is currently in Jakarta. Indroyono said the permanent CTI secretariat would be tasked with managing the budget raised by the six member nations and donor countries, including the United States, Australia and international agencies such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and USAID.
As of May 2009, the CTI has received pledges worth US$300 million, including some $40 million from the US. Indroyono said Indonesia should get a bigger portion of the pledged funds, but gave no reason for this. If Indonesia is selected to be the permanent host, he added, the CTI office would be in Jakarta or Manado. The coral triangle is home to 76 percent of the world’s coral species and 37 percent of reef fish species in the world, and straddles 75,000 square kilometers of the Indian and Pacific oceans.
Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said protecting reefs in the coral triangle, a center of marine biodiversity, was crucial to sustaining the livelihoods of about 120 million people in the six countries. The multilateral partnership of the CTI concept was proposed by President Yudhoyono at the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Australia, aimed at building political will and actions to safeguard marine and coastal resources in the coral triangle.
Supported by other APEC leaders, Yudhoyono then launched the CTI on the sidelines of the December 2007 climate change conference in Bali, which was attended by senior officials from the six coral countries and three major international conservation groups of the WWF, the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Conservation International (CI). Since then, senior officials from CTI countries have met several times to discuss the regional plan of action, with the first ministerial meeting taking place in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in March 2009.
Each country is also formulating its national plan to safeguard coral reefs deemed the most vulnerable species to the impacts of global warming, which could cause sea levels and water temperatures to rise. The six leaders will adopt a non-binding document of the CTI regional plan of action as a guideline to conserve coastal and marine resources within region.
Source: The Jakarta Post – May 13, 2009. Article by Adianto P. Simamora