Coastal and Marine Programs Seek
Programs & Projects
to Rehabilitate Pacific Coral Reefs
Countries in the Pacific will be implementing new policies and programs on coastal and marine conservation, including the rehabilitation of coral reefs in the region.
Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste are part of the Coral Triangle and these policies and programs are critical in the management of coastal and marine resources found in these countries. Fiji and Vanuatu have been included to form the Pacific Coral Triangle because the two countries share the same environmental concerns with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
The Coral Triangle Initiative and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are cooperating to implement the programs through ADB’s “Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific (Phase 2)” technical assistance (TA) project.
A quarterly TA progress report indicates that by 2013, the countries involved will have their own integrated coastal and marine management plans and committees heading these programs.
By 2013, Fiji is also expected to have a provincial action plan for three key districts. Papua New Guinea is expected to have a “National Marine Program,” the Solomon Islands is expected to implement new fisheries ordinances, while Vanuatu’s Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation is expected to have a 10-year strategic plan. Meanwhile, Timor-Leste is expected to complete training of personnel for its designated marine protected areas.
By 2014, the plan for these countries is to have a 10%–40% increase in coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests. Eventually, some 1,000 kilometers (km) of coastal areas will be designated as “managed areas” supported by the TA project.
The TA is aiming for “effective program management” as its target output for the whole time frame from 2011 to 2015.
Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are also expected to train around 1,000 government and nongovernment staff on new integrated marine management skills by 2014.
Upon completion of the countries’ individual policies and programs on marine management, pilot testing on target communities will also be implemented by 2014, and habitat mapping and climate change vulnerability assessment will be conducted in key coastlines.
The progress report adds that communities in the Pacific countries will directly benefit from these programs. The report cites the case of Papua New Guinea which has 17% of the coral reefs in the Coral Triangle. Around 23% of the country’s population (or 1.4 million people) live within 10 km of a coastline and the population is expanding 1.94% per year, indicating the need for providing food security.
The other benefit is employment, as around 60% of the population fish for food. There is no data on the number of persons employed in commercial fishing but the tuna industry employs thousands, the progress report says.
Senior Natural Resources Economist