Media Release: Coral Triangle Countries Mark Historic Meeting with U.S. Government Science Leadership

Document Date: 18 July 2012
Author: CTI-CFF Interim Regional Secretariat

Media Release: Coral Triangle Countries Mark Historic Meeting with U.S. Government Science Leadership
For Immediate Release

Contact: Dr. Darmawan, Coordinator, CTI-CFF Regional Secretariat, Email: Ph: +62 21 3521780 ext 1723 

Cairns, Australia, July 8, 2012 - Representatives from countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) met with Dr. Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the Administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at a high-level meeting in Cairns, Australia.  The meeting was held to advance collaboration between the United States and the six Coral Triangle Countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste – to sustain the marine resources of the Coral Triangle, a region of the oceans now understood by scientists to be the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity.

Dr. Lubchenco applauded the CTI-CFF leadership on the remarkable progress made during the past four years in addressing threats to the Coral Triangle through the innovative and groundbreaking partnership stating that the, “Achievements of the CTI are nothing short of astonishing,” and expressed recognition of the importance for NOAA and the United States to continue its scientific support to the region. 
The CTI-CFF Executive Chair of the CTI-CFF Interim Secretariat Dr. Suseno Sukoyono, Deputy Secretary General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, Dato' Dr. Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad and other representatives discussed with Dr. Lubchenco the lessons learned and priorities for the CTI-CFF which include the need for more scientific research in the Coral Triangle and for forging stronger linkages between science and policy. Dr. Lubchenco stated:

“I am proud of CTI and enthusiastic about the work that has been accomplished. The innovative partnership bringing together traditional and scientific knowledge at the local, national and international levels, combined with the peer-to-peer partnerships, are important elements of the CTI. You are part of something amazing and it is an honor for NOAA to be part of this.”

The Coral Triangle is bounded by the six countries which came together to form the CTI-CFF at a summit meeting of the countries’ leaders in 2009 and adopted a Regional Plan of Action to preserve this unique marine and coastal environment. The Coral Triangle contains 76% of the world’s known coral species, 37% of all known reef fish species and more than 120 million people who are directly dependent on these marine resources for their economic and food security.  The resources, however, are under threat from various factors specifically climate change and unsustainable fishing. 

The U.S. government has provided over US$42 million in support to the CTI-CFF through the U.S. Coral Triangle Support Program. An important part of this support has been scientific expertise, tools and equipment provided by NOAA. NOAA is the lead governmental scientific agency in the U.S. whose mission is to understand and predict changes in the earth's environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet economic, social, and environmental needs. NOAA, as a global leader in scientific research and innovation, partners with other countries including those of the CTI-CFF to share knowledge, tools and technology.   Results of NOAA’s partnership with the CTI-CFF, have included the achievement of a number of CTI-CGG goals including the development of a Regional Early Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation;  the formation of a regional system of Marine Protected Areas; and the creation of a regional sustainable Fisheries Management framework.