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)

II. Workshop

February 17, 1997

I. Opening Remarks

  • Mr. Hiroshi Sawamura, Director-General of the Nature Conservation Bureau, Environment Agency of Japan

    Mr. Sawamura represented the Organizing Committee to deliver an address at the opening of the ICRI Second Regional Workshop for the East Asian Seas. He reported that the symposium on the previous day was a success. He said that the first workshop adopted a Regional Strategy according to the principle of the ICRI, and encouraged the participants of the second workshop to achieve the goals of implementing the Regional Strategy, establishing a network for GCRMN, and promoting various activities for IYOR. The text of Mr. Sawamura's statement is attached as Annex V of this report.

  • Dr. Seisho Higa, Director of the Department of Environment and Health of Okinawa Prefectural Government

    Dr. Higa welcomed the participants to the workshop as a representative of the hosting prefecture. He described Okinawa's geography, which nurtures coral reefs, and its culture and history as a venue for international exchanges in East Asia. He said that it was very meaningful and honorable for Okinawa to be the host of this workshop. He hoped for a fruitful outcome of the workshop because the coral reefs in Okinawa have been degraded by land development, outbreak of the crown-of-thorns starfish, and red soil erosion. The text of Dr. Higa's statement is attached as Annex VI of this report.

  • Dr. Ian Dight, UNEP

    He first thanked the Japanese Government and Okinawa Prefecture Government for hosting the workshop. He reported the successful progress made in their Regional Seas Programs, having held 5 regional workshops last year including the East Asian Seas workshop in Indonesia, and having been requested by the Governing Council of UNEP to continue to play an active role in the development, implementation, and coordination of regional activities under ICRI. He identified the five global priority needs such as establishment of multi-stakeholder partnerships. He encouraged the audience by informing them of the upcoming regional workshops in many other regions.

  • Dr. Richard Kenchington, ICRI

    Dr. Kenchington gave background information on ICRI and reiterated the importance of coral reefs as a source of economic and environmental capital. He said that one objective of the ICRI activities is to create an impact on the senior decision-makers. He said that although ICRI had been successful in obtaining public attention, the workshop should aim at stimulating actual actions initiated by communities and forging cooperation between policy-makers and researchers. He suggested that IYOR would be a valuable resource in promoting collaborative work for ICRl objectives.

2. Nomination of Chairperson

  • The Secretariat nominated Dr. Kenji Konishi, the coordinator of the symposium, as the chairperson for the workshop. The participants supported the nomination.

3. Adoption of Agenda

  • The workshop discussed the draft agenda, and adopted it with some minor amendments.
  • The agenda of the workshop is attached as annex IV of this report.

4. Introduction of IUCN

  • Mr. Paul Holthus, IUCN

    Mr. Holthus introduced IUCN as a non-governmental organization that links science and management under the partnership of multilateral organizations, countries, and non-governmental organizations. IUCN facilitates the networking of protected marine areas through the provision of information on subjects such as endangered species. The network can help promote regional activities on coral reef issues, provide regional information, develop nodes, and improve coastal management.

5. Introduction of GCRMN

  • Dr. Clive Wilkinson, GCRMN Coordinator, AIMS

    He introduced GCRMN (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network) as a foundation for providing the necessary information on integrated coastal management, capacity building, and research & monitoring. He explained that it is a network established by linking existing organizations and people through nodes (sub-nodes). It helps to develop training programs (biophysical, social-economical aspects), partnerships, and coordination & development for the management of coral reefs, and aims to facilitate the integration/collaboration among science, management, and communities.

6. Introduction of Reef Base 2.0

  • Dr. John McManus, ICLARM

    Dr. McManus introduced ICLARM and then ReefBase, which was released last year. He explained how large the database system has become and its potential growth. He said ReefBase facilitates the management of coral reefs through the provision of data to a wide range of people using global CD-ROMs and the Internet. It is a user-friendly system from which the user can obtain reef information such as benthic ecology, reef management, harvest, and the stresses on each reef. Each data item indicates the source of data. He explained the Aquanaut Survey Method that enables volunteer divers to provide reef information.

7. Presentation of Country Reports

  • A current report on the progress of regional strategy in each country was presented by the representatives of each participating country.
  • Australia reported that government initiatives and programs were carried out for the sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs.
  • Brunei reported that although no extraction of corals was occurring, major threats to corals came from land development.
  • Indonesia reported government approaches and efforts to organize community-based plans for coral conservation
  • Japan reported its coral protection activities and international contributions through training courses and on-site research assistance
  • Korea reported the involvement of government agencies in coral conservation, proposed educational programs, and researches conducted so far.
  • Malaysia reported the legal support for coral conservation, educational programs, efforts for ensuring the success of IYOR, and research activities.
  • Myanmar reported its experience with a national park, citing the unsatisfactory status of corals despite government efforts, and made a strong appeal for capacity building.
  • The Philippines reported various on-going government initiatives to improve the institutionalization of programs and networking of reefs in the Philippines.
  • Singapore reported the regulatory measures and international protocols adopted in the country, as well as a variety of educational programs and researches conducted by universities.
  • Thailand introduced a community-based program, educational programs, and conservation activities in cooperation with other industries on a scientific basis.
  • Vietnam reported the progress in legislation and its needs for educational programs for officials and communities. It agreed to set up a sub node in the shared sea area.

8. Presentation by UNEP/ROAP and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

  • Mr. Mitsuo Usuki of UNEP/ROAP reported UNEP's role in regional activities of ICRI. After explaining UNEP's activities on an environment assessment programme in Asia and the Pacific and sub-regional environmental fora in East Asia, he said that UNEP/ROAP would continue to support regional cooperative initiatives in the fields of marine environment and coral reef protection.
  • Dr. Gregor Hodgson of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology gave a brief report on Reef Check, a survey method involving the participation of recreational divers. He explained that Reef Check is the biggest single IYOR activity, involving 100 or more teams from dozens of countries to survey more than 300 reefs.
    The survey aimed at raising awareness and obtaining information on coral reefs..
    Finally, he said that he could only answer the question" What is the health of the world's reefs?" after five years of survey.

9. Group Session and Adoption of the Reports of the Working Group 1, 2 and 3

  • The workshop was divided into three working groups discussing different topics in accordance with the ICRI objectives, which were 1) Integrated Coastal Management, 2) Capacity Building, and Research and Monitoring, and 3) Mechanism for Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • On 18th of February, Working Group 1 (Coastal Management) and Working Group 2 (Capacity Building and Monitoring) were held. Each Working Group had presentations by participants, followed by the identification of each country's priorities. After a discussion on country priority, the countries reported their priority at the parallel Working Group 1 and 2, and discussed regional actions and results of the Working Groups.
  • In Working Group 1, the setting up of a network (regional or international) to exchange expertise in the study of corals was deemed necessary to promote integrated coastal management. The group suggested some projects such as integrated management by countries sharing boundary, establishment of a trainer network linked to NETTLAP or UN programs, and community-based management training programs.
  • Working Group 2 discussed some projects concerning capacity building to help formulate strategies for Integrated Coastal Management and development of Protected Marine Area. The group agreed on the role of COBSEA through EAS/RCU as a facilitator of capacity building, and the need for countries such as Japan (JICA) and Australia to provide training to managers in the technical and socio-economic aspects.
  • On 20th of February, Working Group 3 (Mechanism for Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation) was held. It was a joint session of Working Group 1 and 2 to report the result of each group's discussion and to discuss EAS UNE GEF strategic action programs and the establishment of GCRMN.
  • At the plenary session, the record of the discussion of the Working Group 1, 2 and 3 was adopted.

10. Adoption of the Okinawa Declaration

  • The steering committee drafted the Okinawa Declaration and submitted it to the workshop.
  • After the participants reviewed and discussed the draft, added some minor amendments, the Okinawa Declaration was adopted by the workshop.

11. Closure of the Workshop

  • Each member of the steering committee, Dr. Clive Wilkinson of GCRMN, Mr. Mitsuo Usuki of UNEP, Ms. Kin Looi Ch'ng of UNEP, and Dr. Ian Dight of UNEP, made his or her comments and thanked all of the participants for their patience and commitment in making the workshop successful. Finally, Dr. Kenji Konishi, chairman of this workshop, thanked all members of the Organizing Committee, steering committee, the host prefecture Okinawa, and the participants for their tireless efforts and dedication, and declared the closure of the workshop.

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan

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