RP joins bid to save ‘global epicenter of marine life’

Date May 20, 2009

SIX countries, including the Philippines, have finalized an ambitious and visionary 10-year plan of action to protect and rehabilitate the Coral Triangle, Environment Secretary Lito Atienza reported on Monday.

The 10-year plan of action also affirms their commitment to collectively protect and preserve the marine ecosystem in the region. The five other signatories are Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The Coral Triangle includes the marine regions of Sulu-Sulawesi, part of the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and portions of the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands—with the Philippines at the apex.

The Coral Triangle is the global epicenter of marine-life abundance and diversity, with 76 percent of all known coral species, 37 percent of all known coral reef fish species, 33 percent of the world’s coral reefs, the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world, and spawning and juvenile growth areas for the world’s largest tuna fisheries.

President Arroyo with the five other heads of state had earlier affirmed their commitment to the protection of the area with their Coral Triangle Initiative communiqué at the Leaders’ Summit in Somado, Indonesia May 11.

Each of the countries has its own CTI targets with the overall objectives agreed upon during the December 2007 meeting—priority seascapes are designated and effectively managed, full-ecosystem approach is used in the management of fisheries and other marine resources, the putting up of marine-protected areas, in the adoption of climate-change adaptation measures, and in efforts to protect threatened species.

In two years, the participating countries should complete or come up with a Comprehensive Seascape Investment Plans for each priority seascape, along with an overall scheme for the sequencing of investments across the 10-year timeframe of the CTI Plan of Action.

In Climate Change Adaptation Measures, the aim is to complete a regionwide Early Action for Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the near-shore marine and coastal environment and small island ecosystem by 2012.

By 2015, it should be fully implemented, and must prove adequate in addressing the economic and livelihood needs of coastal communities heavily dependent on marine and coastal resources, and biodiversity conservation objectives.

By 2020, marine and coastal resources within all identified priority seascapes should all be in a state of sustainable management.

Also within two years, strong legislative, policy and regulatory frameworks should be in place for achieving an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

Within 10 years or by about 2020, the livelihood and food security of an estimated 50 million people living in targeted coastal communities should have been secured through the CTI’s sustainable Coastal Fisheries and Poverty Reduction under the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management.

Within this goal and its policy frameworks, the countries also promised to develop measures that would ensure that the exploitation of shared stock for all species of tuna is sustainable; and that tuna- spawning areas and juvenile growth stages are adequately protected.

The CTI covers a 5.7-million square-kilometer area in the Indo-Pacific Ocean that contains 67 percent of the world’s marine resources.

Atienza said that for the Philippine National Plan of Action (NPOA), the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) will serve as the overall framework in pursuing the five regional CTI goals.

Written by Jonathan Mayuga, Business Mirror
Monday, 18 May 2009 23:14

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>