Agreement reached to protect Coral Triangle
Six Asian nations signed an agreement on Friday to protect 75,000 square kilometers of coral-rich waters in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papau New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste agreed to ramp up efforts to protect the area's ecosystem by preventing illegal fishing and other harmful activities.
The agreement was reached during the 2009 Coral Triangle Summit, which is being held this week in conjunction with the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia. This is the inaugural meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI).
Some USD 300 million (EUR 220 million) has been pledged to the CTI by donor countries and organizations, include the United States, Australia, the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environmental Facility.
The agreement "will be the boldest and [most] ambitious marine action plan ever carried out by a group of governments," said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "We will discuss what we can do collectively and individually to preserve the rich marine biodiversity of the Coral Triangle, on which some 120 million people's livelihoods depend."
The Coral Triangle contains 30 percent of the world's coral reefs, 76 percent of its coral species and 37 percent of its reef fish species.