Minister of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has pledged Solomon Islands' commitment to the Coral Triangle Initiative at a ministerial meeting of the Coral Triangle Countries in Papua New Guinea yesterday.

Minister Lilo and Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni joined their colleague ministers from Indonesia, Timo Leste, Malaysia, Philippines and the host nation, Papua New Guinea, in a historic event, marking the first ministerial meeting of the Ministers of the Coral Triangle countries.

This historic gathering of ministers also benefited from the presence of the Australian Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett and many Developing Partners including USAID.

In his keynote address, the Deputy Prime Minister of PNG on behalf of Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare called the leaders of the Coral Triangle countries to commit themselves to the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).

A further call to action was given to the leaders by Indonesian Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, citing that the CTI is a bold declaration of the 6 countries who refuses to see their coral reefs, fisheries and marine resources degraded.

He called the CT6 leaders to forward the initiative, ensuring the rights of our children and future generations are protected.

In his statement Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo referred to the CTI as a cornerstone of great decision that was ever made to triumph the conservation and management of our coastal and marine resources.

"There is no better cause than this and this responsibility of ensuring the Initiative's success is of paramount importance to all of us", Hon. Lilo remarked.

Mr Lilo pledged Solomon Islands' resolve and commitment to CTI, supporting the Indonesia's call to action.

He, however, reminded all the leaders that in advancing the initiative, it should be the needs and the interest of our people that must drive the initiative forward.

"No foreign agenda must occupy the driver's seat, Hon. Lilo remarked.

The first ministerial meeting of the Ministers from the Coral Triangle Countries was held after two days of senior officials' meeting.

The senior officials' meeting that was concluded yesterday (10/03/09) in Port Moresby was the 3rd meeting after the declaration of the Coral Triangle Initiative in September 2007.

Officials from Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Meteorology and Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources represented Solomon Islands in the 3rd Senior Officials Meeting.

The Coral Triangle Countries included Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timo Leste and Solomon Islands.

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