Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Philippines

Philippines Environment Secretary Atienza meets with Indon head to discuss protection of coral triangle

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Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza is set to meet today with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to discuss initiatives to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of the Coral Triangle, a rich marine area bordering Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Solomon islands.

“Like all other ecosystems, our marine areas, including the corals and all biodiversity found beneath our seas and oceans, are also vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change,” Atienza said. “The Coral Triangle which is known to contain more than 500 species of reef-building corals is also abundant in reef fish species, estimated at more than 3,000 species, including commercially valuable pelagic species, such as yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, bumphead parrotfish, and Napoleon wrasse,” Atienza added.

The DENR chief said the meeting with President Yudhoyono is an excellent opportunity for the Philippines and Indonesia to discuss issues that will enhance the cooperation of both countries for the implementation of strategic measures to protect the marine area.

The Coral Triangle is not only a center of marine biological diversity, it also supports some of the world’s highest human population densities. Its resources directly sustain more than 120 million people living within this area, and support the livelihood, income and food security of millions more worldwide.

Atienza said that countries in the region are sharing common problems on the devastating impact of climate change like flooding, water shortage, dry season, and the destruction of our marine resources.

Atienza said climate change is an issue that unites all sectors of society towards the common goals of strongly advocating for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, especially by developed countries, and providing protection for the people against the destructive impact of climate change.

“There is a need to educate our people so that they will understand the phenomenon. This is the first step towards effectively adapting its effects,” Atienza said. “We need to provide protective measures to our communities to prevent or minimize the loss of lives and damages to properties such as the geohazard mapping to identify hazard-prone areas, reforestation and mangrove planting to protect coastal communities from storm surges during typhoons,” Atienza added.

Atienza is now in Bali, Indonesia as head of the Philippine delegation to the 13th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 3rd Meeting of Parties (MOP) of the Kyoto Protocol. Around 10,000 delegates representing 190 countries are attending the Bali conference.

Atienza said that during the conference developing countries, including the Philippines, will strongly call for the setting up of the Adaptation fund, to assist highly vulnerable countries, and the need to provide incentives for developing countries to protect their forests.

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