The 5th CTI-CFF Regional Exchange on Marine Protected Areas (REX5), recently held in Cebu, Philippines, significantly advanced progress on the implementation of the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System (CTMPAS).
Forty representatives from the Coral Triangle Initiative member countries and partner organizations developed roadmaps to improve the management of marine protected areas CTMPAS during the workshop held in Mactan Island in Cebu from 14-18 July, 2014.
The roadmaps contain specific concrete activities to improve marine protected area management at the country-level and align it with the regional CTMPAS that was launched in May 2014 in Indonesia. The roadmaps will be implemented from 2014 to 2020 by government agencies and non-government organizations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
The dynamic five days of intensive discussions and working sessions included a field trip to the nearby Olango Island, where several long-standing locally managed marine reserves offered participants some lessons on management effectiveness and revenue generation. A learning exercise using the Philippines “MPA Management Effectiveness Assessment Tool” (MPA-MEAT) was conducted at the field site, which helped trigger ideas for developing the country roadmaps.
By improving marine protected area management, the countries aim to protect threatened marine resources in key biodiversity sites and sustain fish stocks to ensure food security in coastal areas.
Some of the topics covered in the workshop agenda include: a review of country level progress towards the development of the MPA ME systems; a review of the status of CT Atlas database on MPAs and determine actions to augment information; sharing of experiences on MPA networks/systems to inform functional networks in each country; refining the scope of work for the MPA Coordinator position; and a technical working group meeting to review and endorse the results of the workshop.
A major lesson learned from the REX is the importance of aligning the efforts of all major organizations working in the region for the CTMPAS to progress in a meaningful manner. The workshop was hosted and organized by various organizations led by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Biodiversity Management Bureau, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, the U.S. Department of Interior, the Coral Triangle Center, The Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Coral Triangle Initiative Interim Regional Secretariat.
The REX report containing the country roadmaps and the decisions of the MPA TWG will be available in late August 2014.