The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) is a multilateral partnership of six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Philippines) formed in 2007 to address the pressing threats facing the coastal and marine resources of one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically rich regions on earth.
The theme of the 5th Marine Protected Area Regional Exchange is “Refining MPA management effectiveness protocols in each country to support and align with the Coral Triangle MPA System (CTMPAS) Framework”. The Regional Exchange (REX) workshop allowed the coral triangle countries to evaluate progress to date, ensure a smooth functioning of the CTMPAS Framework implementation and assist in the refinement of national MPA management effectiveness systems. The Framework guides the development of the MPA system which is inclusive to all MPAs (of any form) in the Coral Triangle and encourages countries to improve their MPA management effectiveness. It provides for 4 categorizations of MPAs across the region by degree of significance and quality of management.
The rigorous five-day discussion and working sessions covered the following:
- Day 1 and 2 – Review of the agreements and progress of implementation;
- Day 3 – Field exercise in Talima, Olango Island using the MPA Management Effectiveness Assessment Tool (MPA- MEAT) and sharing of lessons on management effectiveness and revenue generation;
- Day 4 and 5 – Integration of plan and way forward.
Other topics covered include a review of country level progress towards the development of the MPA monitoring and evaluation systems; status of CT Atlas database on MPAs and determining actions to augment information; sharing of experiences on MPA networks/systems to inform functional networks in each country; refining the scope of work for the MPA Coordinator position; and a technical working group meeting to review and endorse the results of the workshop.
During the workshops held in Cebu on July 14-18, 40 representatives from the Coral Triangle Initiative member countries and partner organizations developed roadmaps that contain specific activities to improve the management of marine protected areas at the country level and align it with the regional CTMPAS. The roadmaps are set to be implemented from 2014 to 2020 by government agencies and non-government organizations in the member countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative. By improving marine protected area management, CTI member countries aim to protect threatened marine and coastal resources in key biodiversity areas and sustain fish stock to ensure food security.
Given the cooperation and participation of the MPA Technical Working Group Chair, CT6 Representatives, Interim Regional Secretariat, the Coral Triangle Center, U.S. Department of Interior and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with the support of the U.S. Regional Development Mission for Asia, The Nature Conservancy, the Asian Development Bank, the World Fish Center, the University of Queensland, the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc. and local governments, the event made a positive impact of MPA work across the Coral Triangle.
The REX report containing the country roadmaps and the decisions of the MPA TWG will be available in late August 2014.