The International Coral Reef Initiative is supporting fruitful collaboration between Mexico and Costa Rica to respond to the lionfish invasion, which is seriously impacting commercially important species such as lobsters in Cahuita and Manzanillo in the south of Costa Rica.

Dr Ricardo Gomez Lozano from the Mexican Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), co-chair of ICRI’s Regional Lionfish Committee, is working with Costa Rica this week, with funding provided by the ICRI Secretariat, to help develop a national plan of action to control the lionfish invasion.

The coral reefs of Mesoamerica - Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico - are known for their striking beauty and colorful diversity, but are we doing enough to protect these natural underwater treasures? That is the focus of a just published study by the Healthy Reefs Initiative. Their 2014 Eco-Audit of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) Countries is a systematic multinational evaluation involving four countries, over 50 organizations and more than 350 analytical documents - and is thought to be the only multi-national environmental audit of its kind globally. It was verified by PriceWaterhouseCoopers - Costa Rica.

27 March 2014: Tioman Island, Malaysia, has adopted a "reef etiquette" philosophy following a six-year project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The project expanded Malaysia's marine park system by 6,400 hectares and addressed illegal fishing and relationships between local communities and conservation authorities.

With help from the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), the Healthy Reefs Initiative, and Amatela, a Tela-based organization, the Honduran government has designated Tela Bay, which contains one of the Caribbean’s healthiest coral reefs, a federal Site of Wildlife Importance. Close to 800 elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata), listed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List and threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, live in the Bay while the Capiro Banks reef has almost four times more live coral cover than most reefs in the region. When the area was first surveyed and described in 2011, the partnership also measured an uncommonly high density of the long-spined sea urchin, which has seriously declined throughout the Caribbean, on the reef.

21 February 2014 - The World Bank has announced a US$47.38 million project loan focused on the rehabilitation of Indonesia's coral reefs. This financing is the last tranche of a three-phase program that began in 1998. The loan is supplemented by a US$10 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Indonesia has also pledged US$5.74 million for the 5-year project.

24 February 2014: At the global launch of the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be celebrated throughout 2014, Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador of Climate Change and SIDS, Seychelles, who served as Master of Ceremonies, noted that the occasion marks the first time the UN has dedicated an International Year to a particular category of countries. The launch ceremony took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 24 February 2014.

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