Statement at the Coral Triangle Initiative Summit

By Friday May 15th, 2009 No Comments


Distinguished Chairman,

Excellencies, Honourable Ministers

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you.

Let me begin by thanking His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia for hosting this Coral Triangle Initiative Summit and for his leadership and inviting me to this important event which I consider as a timely step in the cooperative management of our rich marine biodiversity in this region.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

2. Malaysia being a biodiversity rich nation has always taken various measures to conserve and sustainably utilize our rich biological resources. The National Policy on Biological Diversity launched in 1998, gives clear direction for the management of biodiversity in the country. Malaysia as an active member of the Convention on Biological Diversity has also played an important and leadership role in promoting and implementing the objective of the Convention domestically, regionally as well at the international level.

3. Hence, this Coral Triangle Initiative is important as it complements and enriches national and regional efforts in managing the world’s richest marine biodiversity area though it covers approximately only 2% of the world’s oceans.

4. It is indeed unfortunate that knowledge about the oceans is still very limited and that the development of maritime countries often depends on the potential to exploit sustainably the marine resources. Enhancing the knowledge and understanding of the connectivities of large marine ecosystems, ocean dynamics, air-sea interaction, seabed changes and coastal processes are prerequisites for managing the marine environment and ecosystems in a more prudent way towards supporting sustainable economic opportunities from ocean resources. Results from marine scientific research provide inputs for policy makers in pursuing developmental options which will benefit society.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

5. This area which houses nearly 75% of all the coral reef species and 40% of coral fish species known to mankind has also an important socio-economic dimension which has to be sustained for the well-being of countries in this region. Due to the high species diversity and the discovery of many more new species, this area of ours provide enormous commercial potential for its traditional use as well as the application of new technologies such as biotechnology for wealth creation of the nations in this region.

6. In this context, I believe that the CTI Project must be implemented based on national priorities and in line with national policies to ensure that countries participating in the CTI project can contribute and benefit meaningfully from this Initiative. The Project should build upon existing initiatives and projects in this area should avoid the duplication and wastage of resources. There must be tangible outputs which are implementable and sustainable beyond the duration of this project.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

7. We, too, must recognize the role of local and indigenous communities in this area and integrate their traditional, scientific, technical and technological knowledge in this project. This is to ensure the relevancy of this project on the ground, and that recommendations and outputs of this project are implementable at the grass root levels for meaningful outcomes of this project.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

8. In connection with the CTI project, Malaysia is happy to announce that we have many on-going efforts in managing our marine biodiversity including areas covered under this CTI project. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight one project which has a significant positive impact on the Coral Triangle Area. The project is called the Prime Scientific Sailing Expedition 2009. This integrated scientific expedition will be launched on the 15th of June 2009, and the sailing of KD Perantau will be carried out for a total of 52 days. The Expedition route will also include the Coral Triangle region. Various oceanographic studies will be carried out including mapping on the marine flora and fauna such as coral reef, marine mammals, fish and invertebrates that inhabits within the Malaysian seas in the South China Sea, especially in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas. The expedition is also to explore and discover through collection of intensified data by application of the state-of-the art technologies in the field of physical, geological, chemical and biological oceanography.

9. Coincidentally, the Sulu Sulawesi Sea is part of the designated areas in Sulu-Sulawesi Seascapes Programme. This area is a melting pot in the region. Conscientious efforts to innovate, regulate activities to minimize conflicts and disasters, stimulate economic activities as well as facilitate marine life conservation are of prime importance. Towards this end, smart partnerships and strategic alliances and cooperation between coastal communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and other related stakeholders at the national and regional level are of highest priority.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

10. I believe that this Malaysian Pilot Project will contribute to the enhancement of marine resources and help maintain the sea-based revenue for the communities. This will create a positive impact to the targeted groups such as the fishermen, marine aquaculture breeders, resort managers, and ecotourism industry.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

11. Malaysia is very committed to ensuring that our marine ecosystem remains healthy so that this rich biodiversity can be enjoyed in perpetuity and sustainably utilized for wealth creation in line with our objective to be a fully developed nation by 2020.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

12. Finally, I would like to thank the donor agencies and countries as well as other partners for their participation and contribution towards the CTI. I believe, together, we can make this Initiative a success. This Summit will go down the chapters of history for providing the highest political impetus to the conservation efforts of the region’s rich marine biodiversity, and which is in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity on marine and coastal biodiversity. I would like to announce Malaysian contribution of USD 1 million to the CTI projects.

13. I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the Government and people of Republic of Indonesia for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for the meeting in this eco beautiful City of Manado.

Thank you.

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