Wangi-wangi, South East Sulawesi (ANTARA News) – A number of regents and mayors from six countries of Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) began a round table meeting at Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi province, on Monday night.
At their four-day meeting to end on Thursday, they will discuss a wide range of issues including food security, global climate change, energy scarcity, and environmental issues.
In his opening address, Wakatobi Regent Hugua said he initiated the meeting after being inspired by his experience while diving the Carlos P Garcia waters, Bahol province, the Philippines where coral reef destruction had reached an alarming level.
“I hope through this meeting we will be able to agree on the formation of an association of regents and mayors of coastal areas in six CTI countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Kety who represented the US CTI SP program director said the meeting of regents and mayors from six CTI countries was more important and strategic than the meeting of ministers who only spoke of theory and rhetoric to conserve the environment.
“Regents and mayors have the authority to save the environment so the meeting is very important and strategic to conserve natural resources in a sustainable way,” she said.
The Coral Triangle covers the exclusive economic zones of six countries: Indonesia, Timor Leste, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It is the epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity on the planet. Its biological resources sustain the lives of over 120 million people.
In mid-2007, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and five other country leaders launched the CTI in an effort to conserve the Coral Triangle.