On January 1, 2001, the Philippines accepted co-chairing the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Global Secretariat with Sweden. This secretariat is preceded by government of France and previously Australia and the USA.
ICRI entered a new perspective to coral reef conservation with a developing country working in tandem with a developed country by co-hosting the Secretariat. About a hundred developing countries are dependent on coral reefs for their livelihood, thus, their perspective and active participation is extremely important to the ICRI cause. With the Philippines at the helm of the International Secretariat, in tandem with Sweden, ICRI will be dynamic in pushing for the preservation and sustainable development of the world’s coral reef resources. The ICRI CPC will serve as a venue among stakeholders in the coral reef conservation (developing and developed countries, international agencies and regional organizations, donors, and NGOs) to meet, discuss problems and arrive at relevant solutions.
Program of action for 2001/2002
The ICRI Action Program for the present biennium builds upon the previous ICRI Action Agenda which is a compilation of requests for action to conserve the world’s coral reefs and was developed during 2 International ICRI Workshops (Dumaguete City, 1995, and Townsville, 1998), about 10 Regional ICRI Workshops and various ICRI CPC Meetings held since 1995.
The basis of the ICRI Action Agenda was initially developed during the International Workshop held in Dumaguete City in1995, where representatives from 40 countries participated. From this meeting, a “Call to Action” was produced which urged governments throughout the world to make concerted efforts to conserve coral reefs. In addition, a “Framework for Action” was also developed which lists various actions and achievable objectives for governments, donors and funding agencies, development organizations, NGOs, the research community and the private sector. Participants at the 2nd International Workshop in Townsville in 1998 (ITMEMS I) reaffirmed the “Call to Action” and the “Framework for Action” and formulated a “Renewed Call to Action.”
During 2001 and 2002 under the joint secretariat of the Philippines and Sweden, ICRI will continue to focus the world’s attention on the need for action to protect and manage coral reefs. This must be done at local, national, regional and international levels, in part through the implementation networks of ICRI, including: ICRAN, GCRMN, ICRIN and CORDIO. The success of ICRI will be measured by its ability to stimulate or catalyze action at relevant levels and in all regions of the world. During 2001 and 2002, ICRI will:
Continue to focus global attention on the declining status of the world’s coral reefs and promote practical solutions that must be implemented to reverse this decline;
Encourage operational networks at international, regional and national levels to promote the implementation of integrated coastal zone management, building of capacity, implementation of relevant research and monitoring, establishment of marine protected areas, building awareness amongst all stakeholders including the private sector;
Develop and routinely update a set of priority actions for implementing the ICRI Framework for Action at the global and regional levels, preferably in a matrix format to address conservation and sustainable development of coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
Promote and catalyze the funding of regional programs and projects that can be implemented through these networks; including through the Regional Seas;
Encourage partners of ICRI and others to cooperate in the conservation and sustainable utilization of coral reefs and associated ecosystems. Active steps will be taken to link up and cooperate with competent associations and/or networks established to focus on the conservation of associated ecosystems;
Bring attention to the need to address the problems faced by developing countries in relation to the management and protection of coral reefs and related coastal ecosystems in particular with regard to the implications of coral reef degradation on vulnerable coastal communities and the degrading effects of poverty;
Promote the development of environmentally-sound tourism and non-extractive uses that provide local income from the wise use of coral reefs.
Promote research and capacity building in developing countries, focusing on building a foundation for sustainable development, improved management of coastal ecosystems and environmental protection including, through the exchange of good practices;
Mobilize more partners in ICRI among countries and organizations, especially among developing nations;
Promote the formation of National ICRI Committees and equivalent bodies where appropriate, as well as further developing a network of ICRI focal points in countries and organizations around the world;
Maintain the ICRI web site and encourage partners and other organizations to supply information to the wider public using multiple media channels; and
Promote the development of a database of projects on coral reefs which includes a listing of funding support for the activities;
The program of action was adopted at the CPC Meeting on the April 6, 2001 (Cebu, Philippines).
Robeet Jara / Medel P. Lim Suan
David Souter / Dan Wilhelmsson