Coral triangle initiative celebrated

18 May 2009 | News story

The first inter-state agreement in the coral triangle towards marine conservation efforts has been signed by six countries at the Coral Triangle Summit.

“IUCN warmly congratulates the six governments of the Coral Triangle Initiative for their leadership in protecting the most diverse coral reefs of the world," says Bernard O’Callaghan, IUCN Regional Coordinator for Oceania Regional Office. "The Coral Triangle is truly the Amazon of the Sea."

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security was launched on Friday, May 15, at a Leaders Summit in Manado, North Sulawesi. The Heads of States of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste joined forces to safeguard the world’s richest marine resources, ensuring food security for millions of people who depend on these resources.

“IUCN fully supports this new multilateral partnership to help safeguard the marine and coastal biological resources within the region in achieving their priority goals as stated in their Plans of Action," adds O’Callaghan. "IUCN will seek to engage our Species Survival commission, World Commission on Protected Areas and other members. IUCN Oceania will seek to align this initiative with the Pacific Round table for nature conservation."

The Coral Triangle, the epicenter of marine life and diversity, contains 76 percent of all known coral species and more than 3,000 fish species, despite only covering 1.6 percent of the planet’s oceanic area. Over 120 million people directly depend on these resources. This area also supports the largest tuna fisheries in the world, which generates billions of US dollars globally every year.

The value of tourism and the fishery industry, as well as shoreline protection, is estimated to be $2.3 billion per year. These valuable yet vulnerable marine resources are threatened by over harvesting, pollution and unsustainable and uncoordinated coastal development.

“Healthy coastal and marine ecosystems will reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities, especially in the face of climatic changes," says Don Macintosh, Coordinator of Mangroves For the Future. "Protection of mangroves and reefs is vital to help people adapt to increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events."

The Coral Triangle Initiative leaders recognize the urgent need to address poverty issues in the Coral Triangle countries, as well as the need for a climate change focus.

“IUCN urges donor governments, funding agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to embrace this Initiative, and for world leaders at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen later this year to support the Coral Triangle countries in their efforts to protect their most vulnerable assets from the impacts of climate change,” says Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Asia Regional Director.

For more information, please contact:

  • Minna Epps, IUCN Asia Media Relations, m +66 87082 3331, e minna@iucnt.org