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Six Coral Triangle Initiative Countries Meet in Dumaguete for Regional Exchange

Six Coral Triangle Initiative Countries Meet in Dumaguete for Regional Exchange

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Some 76 key officials and representatives from six-member nations of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and their partners gathered in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, for a five-day regional exchange focusing on marine protected areas (MPAs).

A critically endangered hawksbill turtle swims freely at Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental. The Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Apo Island was destroyed caused by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. An increase in the severity of extreme weather events is one of the predicted effects of climate change. (Photo by: Steve De Neef/Greenpeace)

A critically endangered hawksbill turtle swims freely at Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental. The Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Apo Island was destroyed caused by Typhoon Pablo in December 2012. An increase in the severity of extreme weather events is one of the predicted effects of climate change.
(Photo by: Steve De Neef/Greenpeace)

The overall theme for the 6th MPA REX was “Sustainable Marine Tourism in the CTI-CFF MPAs” as a take-off from the 4th CTI-CFF Regional Business Forum held in August 2015 in Bali, Indonesia.

The CTI-CFF is a multilateral partnership among six countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and the Philippines. It aims to protect the coastal and marine resources of the region.

Regional Director Al Orolfo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Negros Island Region explained that Dumaguete was chosen as the host-venue/region for the 6th Marine Protected Areas Regional Exchange of the CTI-CFF because of its being “globally ahead in terms of marine protected areas.”

Orolfo specifically pointed out the world famous dive destination, Apo Island, off the coast of Dauin, Negros Oriental, which is a protected landscape and seascape.

Apo Island is currently rated under Category 3 or a Priority Development Site of the Coral Triangle MPA system.

Also, there is the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape between the islands of Negros and Cebu, the largest marine protected area in the Philippines to showcase, he added.

The TSPS is about more than 500 hectares and is a “big challenge” for the Protected Area Management Board, said Orolfo.

According to Orolfo, “the Philippines is the apex of this Coral Triangle Initiative and therefore we are what we call the center of the center of biodiversity in terms of corals.”

“We really need the cooperation of everyone to have a legacy for the next generation and we can only do that through partnership and these are our partners in the Asia-Pacific region,” Orolfo pointed out.

Lynette Laroya, CTI-CFF MPA coordinator and ADB consultant, says, “the CTI feeds the whole world”, therefore the need for healthy reefs, sustainable fisheries, and livelihood for coastal communities.

The team leaders in the regional exchange are Irwan Isnain of Malaysia, Andi Rusandi of Indonesia, Luke Lucas N’Druzal of Papua New Guinea, Trevor Maeda of Solomon Islands and Raimundo Mau of Timor Leste.

Astrid Lim, head of the Technical Working Group, Regional Secretariat of the CTI-CFF based in Manado, Indonesia, expressed gratitude to those working to make the event a reality.

Without the Philippine support, this would not have happened, Lim said.

This was already a target activity since last year but due to issues and support, the event was cancelled, she added. (PNA)

One of its objectives, according to Lim, is to share concepts, knowledge and practices on sustainable tourism in MPAs that contribute and build on the Coral Triangle MPA system.

Also, the regional exchange endeavors to draft the terms of reference of the CTI-CFF Marine Tourism Task Force, review the status of MPA Management Effectiveness Assessment Tools and review the progress on the implementation of the Coral Triangle MPAs Framework, among others.

During the five-day gathering from 12 to 16 September, a learning tour to Apo Island was scheduled for the participants, as well as visits to other locally managed MPAs.

More information about the REX Meeting.

(Read original story courtesy of PNA/Manila Bulletin.)

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