Regional Initiatives among NAM Member States to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems

Non-Aligned Movement has reaffirmed the importance of measures to ensure the sustainable management of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, including fish stocks, which contribute to food security and poverty eradication efforts, including through ecosystem approaches to ocean management, and to address the adverse effects of climate change on the marine environment and marine biodiversity. At the 17th NAM Summit in Venezuela 2016, the Heads of Member States reiterated that millions of the world’s inhabitants depend on the health of coral reefs and related marine ecosystems for sustainable livelihoods and development, as they are a primary source of food and income, and also provide protection from storms, tsunamis and coastal erosion.

A number of NAM Member States have initiated regional initiatives on the protection of coral reefs and related ecosystem. The most prominent among them is the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), which is a multilateral partnership of six countries- Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste (the ‘CT6’). It was formed in 2007 to address the urgent threats facing the coastal and marine resources of one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically rich regions on earth. CTI-CFF has emphasised on two points of ocean governance. They include preservation of outstanding marine and fisheries resources along with its biodiversity that require bold action, political commitment at all levels, and an effective Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems in the ocean governance to determine what structure is most practical and to track progress towards the goals of the regional and national plans of action.

The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS) is another major regional initiative that supports marine conservation and sustainable use of resources in the national waters, coasts and islands of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. Under a voluntary agreement, the San José Declaration, the countries have agreed to cooperate to improve stewardship of their shared marine environment. ETPS has supported the creation and extension of more than 20 Marine Protected Areas (MPA).

The Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) was launched in 2008. Today, the Member countries of the CCI have committed to conserve at least 20% of their near shore marine and coastal environments by 2020—effectively tripling marine protected area coverage in the region, and to ensure that these conserved areas are effectively managed into the future through a reliable, long-term finance structure—including the creation of National Conservation Trust Funds, funded by sustainable revenue sources and dedicated solely to conserved area management and on-the-ground conservation efforts. Significant progress has been made through the Initiative.

The Dominican Republic, via an unprecedented Presidential Decree, declared 31 new protected areas totalling just over 3.2 million acres, which will protect coral reefs, sharks and sea turtles. The Bahamas expanded Andros West Side National Park from 882,000 acres to nearly 1.3 million acres, which includes important fish habitat and mangrove forests. St. Kitts and Nevis declared a new protected area that encompasses a 2-mile radius around the entire island nation and includes 60% of its near shore marine shelf.

NAM has urged the developed countries parties, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders to take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to developing and least developed countries, to enable them to take all necessary actions including comprehensive for the coastal zones management and protection of coral reefs and related ecosystems. They called on all countries to promote and cooperate in the full, open and prompt exchange of relevant scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and legal information related to the protection of coral reefs and related marine ecosystems.

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