Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Minister to progress conservation efforts in Coral Triangle

Media release
27 October 2011

Environment Minister Tony Burke is leading Australia's delegation to the 3rd Coral Triangle Initiative Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Mr Burke said the meeting represented an opportunity for Australia to work closely with its neighbours in the Coral Triangle region and support them in their efforts to focus on both conservation and economic development through this Initiative.

"The Coral Triangle is renowned for its amazing marine biodiversity. It contains more than half of the world's coral reefs and over a third of its coral reef fish species," Mr Burke said.

"On top of its environmental value, the Coral Triangle's rich marine life supports the health and livelihoods of around 240 million people in our neighbouring countries.

"The Coral Triangle is the Amazon of the oceans."

In July, the Government committed $2.5 million through the Coral Triangle Initiative to help its neighbours in their efforts to protect the region's marine environment and support sustainable livelihoods and food security.

"The Coral Triangle is vital to the region's economic and food security, and it is important that it remains healthy for generations to come," Mr Burke said.

"The Initiative recognises that the conservation of the marine environment is a critical component of sustainable development for coastal communities.

"Its focus is to improve food security, sustainable livelihoods and economic development in the region through improved management of marine and coastal resources.

"With our globally-recognised expertise in areas of marine and coastal research, planning and management, Australia is well-placed to support the activities under the Initiative."

The $2.5 million support package is being delivered with the help of a range of organisations and institutions based both in Australia and overseas.

It is building the capacity of partner governments in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste to effectively carry out the conservation efforts they have outlined under the Initiative.

For example, in Papua New Guinea part of the funding will be used to conduct research to assess the potential economic value of natural resources in Kimbe Bay and their vulnerability to climate change, which in turn will help them with adaptation planning.

The Government funding is also assisting community-based organisations in the partner countries like the Tetepare Descendants Association of Tetepare Island in the Solomon Islands.

The support will enable the Association to complete a range of marine surveys in their local region, which will inform ongoing conservation and management decisions about fish stocks and other marine species, especially turtles, as well as water quality, and climate change indicators.

The Coral Triangle Initiative is a partnership between the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

As a formal Development Partner to the Initiative, Australia provides funding support, as well as technical and strategic expertise and advice to assist the pursuit of the Initiative's goals.

Full details of the Australian Government Support Plan for the Coral Triangle Initiative and the associated support activities can be found at www.environment.gov.au/cti.