By Evan Wasuka, One Television, Solomon Islands
22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro - Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has commended the six countries that form part of the Coral Triangle Initiative for the progress made towards conserving 5.7million square kilometers of ocean water.
The Coral Triangle Initiative is comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.
Speaking at a Rio+20 side event, Mr Lilo said the need to conserve an area hosting 76 percent of the world's known coral species, 37 percent of the world's reef fish species, more than half of the world’s coral reefs as well as the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world and the spawning and juvenile growth grounds for the world’s largest tuna industry, is more vital than ever.
“Today with increasing economic and social challenges – high population, food costs and effects of climate change, our marine resources are harvested and exploited to meet the ever increasing needs and wants. These challenges warrant a call for CT6 governments to make right decisions for sustainable use of these resources. This also calls for the collective effort of all stakeholders.”
|Pacific Island countries relying on the coean for food and livelihood|
With Pacific Island countries relying on the ocean for food and livelihood, the conservation and protection of the ocean has been one of the key issues for Pacific nations at Rio+20.
“Solomon Islands recognises the need to improve and effectively manage our marine resources, to ensure the inhabitants and users of these resources can continue to benefit, manage and adapt to threats occurring today and in the future.”
Prime Minister Lilo said his government has adopted the Coral Triangle National Plan as a strategy to manage Solomon Islands’ marine resources.
With over 500 species of coral organisms, Solomon Islands coral diversity is one of the highest on earth, paralleled only by Raja Ampat in Indonesia.
A recent survey result showed that Solomon Islands has one of the richest concentrations of reef fishes, a total of 1019 reef-dwelling fish species in the world surpassed only by three sites in Indonesia.
Mr Lilo said with the help of donor partners such as the Global Environment Fund, USAID, AusAID and the Asian Development Bank, his government was supporting policies and legislation to promote community-based resource management activities.