Coral Triangle Initiative Ratified: Nations Come Together to Establish Regional Secretariat

Photo Essay: Coral Triangle Book

MANADO, INDONESIA – Ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste met in Manado, Indonesia and ratified an agreement to establish a Regional Secretariat for the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF). The Regional Secretariat will spearhead the CTI-CFF’s regional cooperation programs to strengthen the management of coastal and marine resources and address climate change impacts on fisheries and livelihoods.

According to two new publications launched by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at the CTI-CFF Ministerial Meeting held on 15 May during the World Coral Reefs Conference, overfishing and destructive fishing are primary threats to coral reefs and livelihoods in Coral Triangle countries. Other major stresses include climate change, pollution, and unsustainable coastal development.

The first Regional State of the Coral Triangle Report indicates that Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste are perilously close to overfishing their bottom-dwelling and pelagic fish populations. This may have dramatic consequences for food security and livelihoods in the region.

The second, a study on the Economics of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Coral Triangle indicates that the region contributes about 10% of the global fisheries food supply, with 4.6 million people directly employed in the sector, and an annual production value of more than $10 billion. Weak governance, poverty, and environmental degradation are placing these jobs and income at risk, and highlight the need for greater regional cooperation and investments in maintaining healthy and productive ecosystems.

ADB also initiated a Financial Architecture and Strategy Study to develop a long-term investment and sustainable financing plan for the CTI-CFF regional program. This will help engage potential investors and create a pipeline of sustainability-focused investments in line with local, national and regional development objectives.

In a joint message, James A. Nugent, Director General of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department and Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department, said the studies “highlight key issues that decision makers must address if sustainable development of the Coral Triangle's coastal and marine resources is to be achieved.”

Working with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other partners, ADB serves as a lead partner for mobilizing financial resources for the program. To date, more than $300 million in funding has been generated, with GEF providing over $125 million. New funding recently approved under the sixth replenishment of the GEF will be available to the CTI-CFF countries from July 2014.