Friday, 20 May 2011 10:38 AM

ADB to Help Step Up Resource Management in Threatened Coral Triangle

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (19 May 2011) - One of the world's most diverse and threatened marine ecosystems - the Coral Triangle - is getting Asian Development Bank (ADB) support to improve management of its rich resources and to provide job alternatives for people living in the coastal communities.

ADB has approved assistance of around $12 million for the Coastal and Marine Resources Management Project. It includes a $1 million grant from ADB's concessional Technical Assistance Special Fund, and $11.2 million in cofinancing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines will provide $3 million in non-cash contributions.

"The project aims to strengthen national and local institutions for sustainable coastal and marine ecosystem management and to establish support mechanisms for sustainable livelihoods in coastal communities," said Kunio Senga, Director General of ADB's South East Asia Department.

The Coral Triangle, known as the "Amazon of the Seas", encompasses ocean areas in six countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Its resources are critical for the economic and food security of an estimated 120 million people. These resources are at immediate risk from a range of factors, including the impacts of climate change and unsustainable fishing methods.

Assessments of the Coral Triangle show that up to 88% of reefs are under threat from harmful human activities, resulting in major losses for the fishing and tourism industries.

"The degradation of coral reefs and adjacent coastal and marine ecosystems is due to inadequate implementation of policies and legislation, and inadequate coordination amongst agencies engaged in projects on coastal and marine resources management," said Maria Lourdes Drilon, ADB's Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist.

The project, which is targeted at Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, will strengthen management of marine resources by funding activities that build up the capacity of oversight institutions. It will also help to develop alternative livelihoods for fishing and coastal communities to help reduce activities that harm the environment.

It complements ongoing projects worth $15.05 million, cofinanced by ADB and GEF, to assist Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands and Timor Leste in fulfilling their Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) objectives, as well as engage Fiji and Vanuatu in these efforts.

The Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million square kilometers of ocean waters in Indonesia, Malaysia, PNG, the Philippines, Solomon Island, and Timor Leste. The six nations in 2009 endorsed the CTI agreement, which lays out a plan of action to ensure sustainability of resources, and ADB has played a key role in helping to promote the Initiative, serving as the lead GEF agency to mobilize financial resources.

The implementing agencies for the project, which is due for completion in June 2015, are the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia; National Oceanography Directorate-Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia; and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines

The GEF unites close to 180 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.