Nature & Parks

Report of the International Coral Reef Initiative(ICRI) -- Second Regional Workshop for the East Asian Seas

[International Cooperation] Report of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)

Annex I.

Opening Address of Ms. Michiko Ishii, Minister of State, Director-General of the Environment Agency

I wish to extend my greetings to all participants of the International Coral Reef Symposium ''Symbiosis with the Coral Reefs, the Ocean's Tropical Forest.''
Coral reefs are often referred to as the ''tropical forests of the seas." They are homes to a rich variety of sea life. We humans also enjoy the rich fishing grounds they provide, as well as their recreational benefits
Despite this, we have lost 600,000 sq. km. of corals, about 10% of the world's coral reefs have been lost, with another 30% forecasted to deteriorate over the next 20 years. Coral reef conservation is now widely recognized as one of most important issues facing the global community.
In this backdrop, Japan used the Japan-U.S. Common Agenda as the launch point of its coral reef conservation program. In 1994, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a comprehensive and international framework to promote conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs, was jointly established by the U.S., Australia, and Japan.
Japan has been particularly active in the conservation of reefs in the East Asian seas. ICRI held its First Regional Workshop for the East Asian Seas in March 1996 in Bali, Indonesia. Now, this Second Regional Workshop for the East Asian Seas is held thanks to the support of various agencies in Okinawa.
It is hoped that this symposium, held as part of the Second Regional Workshop for the East Asian Seas, will provide the opportunity for the public to learn about the current state of coral reefs in Okinawa and the world, as well as about the various conservation efforts being made. It will also provide an opportunity for all of us to ponder how we can better protect coral reefs because they nurture a variety of life forms.
In closing, I express my appreciation for the support and cooperation extended by the Okinawa Prefecture and other involved agencies in making this symposium at the Okinawa Convention Center possible.


Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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