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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Coral Triangle Initiative

The Coral Triangle region encompasses nearly 5.7 million km2 of ocean and coastal waters in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Bounded by the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands, this region is recognized as the global center of marine biological diversity. The Coral Triangle is the spawning and nursery ground for four principle market tuna species that populate the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) – yellowfin, albacore, bigeye, and skipjack. The WCPO supplies close to 50 per cent of the global tuna catch and the fisheries are critically important to the in-country commerce and food security of Coral Triangle countries.

The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) is a new multilateral partnership designed to safeguard the region’s extraordinary marine and coastal biological resources for future generations by promoting sustainable fisheries, sustainable livelihoods and climate change resilience and adaptation measures. The six governments have agreed to structure the initiative around five goals:

  • Designate and manage “priority seascapes” where best practices in marine and coastal spatial planning and governance, fisheries management, and marine protected areas management.
  • Reverse the decline of the region’s fish stocks by applying an “ecosystem-based approach” to the management of fisheries and other marine resources;
  • Establish networks of marine protected areas (MPAs);
  • Implement measures to strengthen resilience and adaptation to climate change for near-shore ecosystems and coastal environments and communities; and
  • Strengthen efforts to protect threatened marine species, including sharks, sea turtles and cetaceans.

Within this framework, the six countries are developing national and regional strategies and action plans. The CTI is led by the region’s governments and will include a wide range of partners and stakeholders as funders, implementers and beneficiaries, including the private sector, NGOs, local governments, the academic and scientific communities and the coastal communities most directly affected by the initiative. The CTI will be managed by a rotational Secretariat which is currently located in Indonesia.
The United States Government views the CTI as an important transformative initiative, with the potential to generate significant environmental, economic, and regional security benefits across the region and is offering its support through bilateral and multilateral channels:

  • The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will commit up to $32 million in support of the CTI, through a cooperative agreement with a consortium of NGOs including the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy. USAID also awarded a $6.6 million, to Associates in Rural Development, Inc. (ARD) to support and help coordinate the programs and activities of USAID’s CTI partners, the U.S. Department of State as well as other US Government agencies, and other multilateral and bilateral donors to the CTI.
  • The Department of State provided a $750,000 grant to the NGO consortium to support the development and self-sustaining operation of the CTI Secretariat, including regional cooperation processes among the six governments.
  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF), to which the United States is the largest single donor, approved a four-year, $90 million GEF grant in support of the CTI. The GEF CTI program is being led and coordinated by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and includes projects to be implemented by ADB, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


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