The six member countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) have agreed to support Indonesia’s push to host the grouping’s permanent office, which will manage funds given by donors to protect coral environments across the shared marine region. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said those who had pledged to provide financial aid to the CTI effort currently could not do so because there was no official secretariat.
“In principle, all CTI members have agreed Indonesia will host the permanent office. But we have not yet decided hether the office will be in Bali or Manado,” Freddy told reporters in Jakarta on Monday. “Hopefully, member countries will decide on the location for the fixed secretariat by mid-June.”
Currently, the interim CTI secretariat office is in Jakarta. The Philippines had earlier submitted its proposal for hosting the office. The head of states of six countries Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste signed a declaration at an oceans summit in Manado earlier this month vowing to cooperate to protect coral environments shared within their regions from the impacts of climate change.
Indonesia and the Philippines have pledged to contribute US$5 million, while Papua New Guinea and Malaysia pledged $2 million and $1 million, respectively. From the donor countries, the US committed $41.6 million and Australia said it would provide an initial $1.5 million. The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the largest donor organization under the UN, has provided $63 million.
“The GEF has said it will increase its grant to up to $250 million to support the CTI plans,” Freddy said. The CTI is home to about 76 percent of the world’s coral species and nearly 40 percent of reef fish species in the world. It stretches across the six countries and covers an area of nearly 75,000 kilometers. Indonesia has 61,000 kilometers of coral-reef areas with the potential to absorb nearly 75 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main contributor to global warming, every year.
Freddy said protecting coral reefs in the CTI region area, as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, was crucial to sustaining the livelihoods of around 120 million people within the region. The CTI regional partnership was proposed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Australia, and aims to build political will and take action to safeguard marine and coastal resources within coral triangle. Three major international conservation groups : the WWF, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Conservation International (CI) have pledge support to the CTI.
Source: The Jakarta Post – May 27, 2009. Article by Adianto P. Simamora