Timor-Leste Establishes Two MPAsCatch of the Week
The Government of Timor-Leste has established two marine protected areas (MPAs) as part of ongoing efforts to protect the country’s marine resources.
Letters of agreement for two MPAs in Atauro and Batugade, respectively, have been finalized and the Atauro MPA has been formally established, a visiting team from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reported.
The ADB team recently visited Timor-Leste to conduct a midterm review of the government’s coastal and marine resources management programs in the Coral Triangle.
One of the main goals of the visit was to identify design and implementation issues and challenges, ascertain lessons learned, and recommend solutions and adjustments for the remaining duration of the project.
According to ADB, the two MPAs are valuable “first steps” despite their small size of about 40 hectares each. The Batugade site offers a political opportunity in exploring the establishment of a joint international MPA that would span areas on both sides of the border between Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
“The local communities and NGOs establishing MPAs will need stronger links with government agencies,” said Shane Rosenthal, ADB resident representative in Timor-Leste.
Aside from establishing more MPAs, the government is also aiming to implement programs for climate change and strengthen the capacities of government, nongovernment organizations, and local communities to manage marine and coastal resources more effectively, according to Lorenco Borges Fontes, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Aside from ADB, the Global Environment Facility, USAID, and Australia are helping Timor-Leste in its coastal management programs.