Coral Triangle Day: Fostering a Sense of Community and Camaraderie in Sustaining the World’s Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity
By: Sudirman Saad, Chairman, CTI-CFF Interim Regional Secretariat
On June 9, 2013, an estimated 10,000 people from all walks of life will gather in more than 50 locations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste to celebrate Coral Triangle Day.
Coral Triangle Day brings together individuals, organizations, and communities for beach clean-ups, sustainable seafood dinners, multi-media exhibitions, among others, on one special day of the year to shed light on the numerous ways to protect and conserve the world’s richest marine environment which is also the cradle of marine life on the planet – the Coral Triangle. Through these activities, we foster a spirit of working together, a sense of camaraderie, and a shared understanding that we can only achieve our conservation and sustainability goals if we work together.
We at the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) Interim Regional Secretariat, are inspired to see this ground swell of enthusiasm in celebrating Coral Triangle Day 2013. This encourages us to move forward on the important, but no less challenging, path that we began to undertake in 2009. The CTI-CFF has demonstrated that by working and collaborating at the regional, national and community level and involving as many stakeholders in our programs, we can make headways in protecting our marine resources.
In November 2012, we have seen the signing of the Agreement on the CTI-CFF Permanent Regional Secretariat Establishment by three Coral Triangle Countries, bringing us closer to our goal of strengthening our regional activities and programs. In December 2012, local government leaders came together to sign a declaration advocating for stronger and more direct engagement with the CTI and expressed urgency and commitment to work with national and regional counterparts and with each other in protecting and sustaining the Coral Triangle.
This year, we also forged stronger linkages with the private sector. In January 2013, government and private sector representatives developed a concrete roadmap to address the negative impacts of live reef fish trade in the Coral Triangl. In March 2013, business and industry leaders from the seafood, tourism, shipping, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors committed to implementing programs that will contribute to building a Blue Economy for the Coral Triangle region.
Working with development partners, scientists, communities and policymakers, the CTI-CFF has developed innovative ways to help solve some of our most critical problems. We launched the State of the Coral Triangle Reports to map the conditions of our marine resources in July 2013. We developed a guidebook that local governments and communities can use to assess their vulnerability to climate change and help them form their own climate change adaptation plans that address local conditions. We are also close to launching the framework for the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Areas System, envisioned to be the largest network of effectively managed MPAs in the Asia-Pacific region.
As we move forward towards another year of working together, it is our hope that we will be able to foster our camaraderie and encourage more individuals, organizations and communities to join us in
a multi-stakeholder, people-centered, and goal-oriented conservation approach to stem the decline of our marine resources in the Coral Triangle and sustain it for the millions who depend on it.
Happy Coral Triangle Day!