Ministers of Conservation, Environment, Fisheries, and Science from the six Coral Triangle countries rallied donors to infuse fresh technical and financial support to protect the richest marine biodiversity area in the world during the first Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) High Level Financial Roundtable held in Manila on May 3, 2012. The roundtable was held as a side event of the 45th Annual Board of Governors’ Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili, Chair of the CTI Council of Ministers thanked partners for their support and urged prospective funders and representatives from the private sector and finance ministries to expand the support base for the CTI. “You will also be the beneficiary of efforts to conserve the Coral Triangle marine as the initiatives do not only involve sustainability programs but also climate change adaptation,” said Ongkili, who is also Malaysia’s Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.
Stephen Groff, ADB Vice President for Operations said the roundtable was “an important first step” for the Coral Triangle Initiative. He posed a bigger challenge to the ministers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste to strengthen their links with their respective finance ministers so funding for key CTI projects will increase. “What we need to do is to demonstrate very effectively why this is an area that should be prioritized. We need to prioritize and look at the things that can be financed domestically and externally through the private sector or donors.”
Groff said that donor resources have steadily declined and were not likely to grow in the near future given the state of the world economy. “Donors are looking for results and CTI should demonstrate that it has on-the-ground results.” He asked the ministers to work together to leverage resources, opportunities, and partnerships and to get the private sector involved in the CTI. In response to this call, several of the Coral Triangle countries have already committed counterpart government funds for many of the key projects and activities that their National Coordinating Committees had proposed.
Aside from the high level meetings, Coral Triangle countries also presented their financial priority needs at the CTI Marketplace’s networking session. The priority needs, drawn from each country’s CTI National Plan of Action, were developed through a series of sustainable finance workshops in the past year. (Click here to download the financial priority documents presented at the meeting)
“Projects should be strategic and meaningful to the lives of ordinary people,” said Solomon Islands Minister of Environment, Conservation, and Meteorology John Moffat Fugui. “It is important to see that these priorities are realized from the ground and are community-based.”
The Marketplace fostered a spirit of togetherness among the six countries as they learned about each others' plans and their strategies on how to achieve them. National Coordinating Committees maximized the opportunity to build relationships with new and current partners.
Donors, such as USAID, were pleased with the outcome of the roundtable and marketplace. Juniper Neil of USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia affirmed the organization’s continued support and encouraged the countries to approach them so they can respond to the priorities. “If there are additional things that you need assistance with in-country, please let our partners know from the ground what you need. Please work through the Secretariat to push back on to tell us what you need so we can make it happen.”
The roundtable was co-hosted by the ADB and organized by the Regional Cooperation on Knowledge Management, Policy, and Institutional Support to the Coral Triangle Initiative.
(Upper Right) Delegates to the CTI High Level Financial Roundtable gather before the formal presentations from the CTI Concil of Ministers Chair.
(Lower Right) ADB Vice President Stephen Groff, CTI Council of Ministers Chairman Dr. Maximus Ongkili and Philippine Finance Under Secretary Gil Beltran
(Upper Left) Representatives of the Timor-Leste CTI National Coordinating Committee present their priority projects and funding requirements at the CTI Marketplace.
(Lower Left) CTI Regional Secretariat booth at the CTI marketplace
Photo Credits: ADB KM 4 CTI Project.
For more photos of the high-level meeting follow this link.