ICRI Framework for Action

Coral Health and Monitoring Program coral at coral.aoml.erl.gov
Fri Jun 30 01:12:46 EDT 1995

               International Coral Reef Initiative 
                      Framework For Action 
                          June 2, 1995 


     Maintaining the biological diversity, condition, resources,  
and values of coral reefs and related ecosystems is a matter of  
global urgency.  While the majority of countries which have coral  
reefs are developing countries, there are many reefs in the  
waters of developed countries.   This unites the developed and  
developing countries and should command the attention of the  
international community.  Coral reef survival depends upon the  
world community acquiring and maintaining the knowledge and  
capacity to conserve and sustainably use coral reefs and related  
ecosystems.  This requires that all uses and impacts be brought  
within and maintained at levels which do not exceed these  
systems' natural capacity for production and regeneration. 

     The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) Workshop was  
held at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Philippines in  
May, 1995 to enable countries, donors, development and funding  
agencies to work with coral reef managers, private sector  
representatives, non-governmental organisations and scientists to  
develop this Framework as a basis for achieving sustainable  
management of coral reefs and related ecosystems.   

     The ICRI Framework for Action  builds upon and reflects the  
principles and processes established by Agenda 21,  the UN  
Commission on Sustainable Development, the Convention on  
Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate  
Change,  the Global Conference on Sustainable Development of  
Small Island Developing States, the UN Convention on the Law of  
the Sea, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species  
of Wild Flora and Fauna, Global Program of Action to Protect the  
Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities and other relevant  
international programs.  It has been developed as a succinct  
statement which should be read and interpreted in light of these  

     This Framework addresses the four elements of the ICRI Call  
to Action, which are: 

        o      management; 
        o      capacity building; 
        o      research and monitoring; and 
        o      review. 

                        FRAMEWORK PURPOSE 

     The purpose of this Framework for Action is to mobilise  
governments and the wide range of other stakeholders whose  
coordinated, vigorous and effective actions are required to  
implement the Call to Action.  


     The ICRI recognises the following principles: 

     Achieving the ICRI's purpose requires the full participation  
and commitment of governments, local communities, donors, NGOs,  
the private sector, resource users and scientists; therefore true  
partnerships, cooperation and collaboration exemplify the ICRI  

     The over-riding priority is to support actions that will  
have tangible, positive and measurable effects on coral reefs and  
related ecosystems and on the well-being of the communities which  
depend upon them. 

     Human activities are the major cause of coral reef  
degradation; therefore managing coral reefs means managing those  
human activities. Individuals whose decisions and actions affect  
coral reefs--from board rooms to beaches--need to become aware of  
and committed to the conservation and sustainable use of coral  
reefs and related ecosystems.  

     The diversity of cultures, traditions and governance within  
nations and regions should be recognised and built upon in all  
the ICRI activities. 

     Integrated coastal management, with special emphasis on  
community participation and benefit,  provides a framework for  
effective coral reef and related ecosystem management. 

     Developing national capacity to conserve and sustainably use  
coral reefs and related ecosystems requires a long term (decadal)  
commitment.  Improvement of coral reef management requires a  
permanent commitment and an adaptive approach.   

     Strategic research and monitoring programs should be an  
integral part of the ICRI because management of coral reefs and  
related ecosystems should be based on the most relevant  
scientific information. 

     Actions promoted under this framework should take account  
of, and fully use, the extensive body of international agreements  
and organisations that address issues related to coral reefs and  
related ecosystems. The ICRI will facilitate the leveraging and  
channeling of existing resources among all sectors for the  
benefit of coral reefs and related ecosystems. 


     All those committed to supporting the ICRI and this  
Framework for Action are called upon to take account of and to  
act on the following at the international, regional and national  

     Support national and regional efforts to establish and  
coordinate strategies, priorities and programs to implement the  
ICRI Framework for Action, starting with regional workshops to be  
held by early 1996. 

     Ensure that sustainable management of coral reefs and  
related ecosystems is considered at future relevant international  

     Develop and/or strengthen national, regional and  
international mechanisms for gathering and sharing information  
and expertise on the sustainable management of coral reefs and  
related ecosystems. 

     Promote improved access to financial and technological  
resources to enable institutions, regional centres and networks  
to assist and inform governments, industries and communities. 

     Addressing conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs  
and related ecosystems requires activities in the following  

        o     integrated coastal management; 
        o     public awareness, education and training; 
        o     ratification of or accession to 
                  relevant international instruments; 
        o     stakeholder participation at all levels; 
        o     training policy makers and private  
                  sector decision makers in the development 
                  and implementation of coral reef management; 
        o     marine science and technology; 
        o     environmental law, particularly  
                  environmental impact assessment  
                  regulations; and 
        o     assessing the potential for micro-enterprise 
                  development and facilitating access 
                  to financing on a small to medium scale. 

 (a)    Management 

     Encourage governments to develop and adopt integrated  
coastal management measures, including:  

        o       protection of the marine environment  
                   from land based sources of marine pollution; 
        o       environmentally sound land use practices, 
                   including zoning where appropriate; 
        o       measures to protect the marine environment 
                   from the adverse effect of maritime 
        o       national and regional disaster strategies; 
        o       measures to prevent illegal fishing practices, 
                   achieve sustainable fisheries and protect 
                   the ecological systems that support them; 
        o       tourism management and planning; 
        o       cultural aspects of resource use; and 
        o       enforcement of regulations. 

     Encourage governments and funding agencies to consider the  
ICRI Framework in project and program design and implementation. 

     Encourage, where appropriate, an intersectoral systems  
approach to planning and management. 

     Encourage improved coordination among international  
organisations, donors and NGOs to provide more effective programs  
at the regional and national level. 

     Encourage prompt implementation of the outcomes of FAO Code  
of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the Global Program of  
Action to Protect the Marine Environment from Land-Based  

     Promote awareness and action by the global tourist community  
to minimise individual and collective impacts of tourism on coral  
reefs and related ecosystems. 

     Promote the establishment and effective management of  
coastal and marine protected areas for coral reefs and related  
ecosystems, within the framework of customary international law  
as exemplified by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This  
will contribute to the development of the Global Representative  
System of Marine Protected Areas as proposed by the World Bank,  
IUCN and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 

     Promote the regulation of international trade in endangered  
and threatened reef-associated species through the Convention on  
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna  
(CITES), and improve its implementation where required. 

     Encourage governments to develop and promote mechanisms for  
regulating international trade in species that are illegally  

     Encourage governments to develop legislation, policy and  
institutional capacity to apply environmental assessment to  
development activities. 

     Promote appropriate technologies, including voluntary  
programs and economic incentives and best management practices,  
for control of land-based causes of marine pollution. 

     Promote and replicate successes in integrated coastal  
management, including community based management, as appropriate. 

     Support management measures to improve the socio-economic  
condition of local communities through such means as retraining  
and sustainable alternative livelihood development. 

(b)     Capacity Building 

     Capacity building includes establishing and strengthening  
human resource and institutional capabilities for coastal  
management, science, training and education. 

     Encourage regional organisations to assist countries and  
communities implementing ICRI, for example through measures  

        o       preparation of project proposals         
        o       implementation of small grant programs. 

     Establish, strengthen and sustain mutually supportive  
networks of centres of expertise in  management of coral reefs  
and related ecosystems. 

     Base human resource development strategies on needs  
assessments and ensure that they address:       

        o       the diversity of cultures traditions 
                    and governance structures;  
        o       increased community awareness and involvement;   
        o       improving the capacity of today's managers;      
        o       providing for the education of tomorrow's 
        o       coverage of coral reef management issues in 
                    the training of all professionals whose 
                    work involves decisions which affect 
                    coral reefs and coastal resource management;      
        o       technical training needs for people at the 
                    field level;  
        o       training and supporting trainers to work at 
                    the community and field level;       
        o       evaluation of the effectiveness of training; and         
        o       the need to target children in awareness raising. 

     Improve coordination and targeting of the education and  
human resource development programs provided by development  

     Support formal and informal environmental education programs  
for all levels of the community on the subject of coral reefs and  
related ecosystems, with curricula and materials tailored to the  
interests and needs of the regions and end-users. 

     Encourage maximum use of national and regional expertise in  
management, research and capacity building activities. 

     Support the development, identification and dissemination of  
materials which address the interests and needs of the regions,  

        o       the value of coral reefs and related ecosystems;         
        o       practical monitoring and management techniques;  
        o       inventories of formal and on-the-job training 
        o       case studies of management, including success 
                    stories as well as examples 
                    which have not been successful; and      
        o       case studies of human impact and natural 
                    variation in coral reefs and related 

     Increase the relevance to ICRI of existing donor scholarship  
programs by:        

        o       devoting a proportion of scholarship awards 
                    to environmental studies; and        
        o       encouraging thesis and dissertation studies 
                    carried out in home countries. 

     Encourage the private sector's role in management of coral  
reefs and related ecosystems through: 

        o       use of appropriate technologies; 
        o       development of a trained and educated 
                    workforce; and 
        o       innovative approaches to better 
                    environmental operating standards. 

(c)     Research & Monitoring 

     Research and monitoring are needed to assess the status of  
coral reefs, evaluate the success of management and conservation  
actions and develop more effective management practices.  As  
tropical ecosystems, coral reefs and related ecosystems are  
subject to dynamics which are generally less well understood than  
temperate systems.  Therefore, without evidence it should not be  
assumed that they will react to natural and human disturbances in  
the same way as temperate systems.   

     Research and monitoring programs should address biological,  
physical, social, cultural and economic studies and should be  
carried out over time periods appropriate to their objectives.   
They should be supported by information management,  
interpretation and dissemination.  In the collection of data for  
both research and monitoring, resource users should be involved  
to the maximum extent practicable. 

     Promote the involvement of managers in the development,  
conduct, interpretation and application of research and  
monitoring programs. 

     Promote and assist the development and application of  
resource assessment methods that:    

        o       allow for rapid assessment to establish 
                    baselines and initiate management        
        o       can be used in Geographic Information 
                    and Decision Support Systems 

     Promote the development of a Global Coral Reef Monitoring  
Network under the Coastal Zone Module of the Global Ocean  
Observing System by incorporating and, as necessary, establishing  
or strengthening regional nodes. 

     Encourage studies of coral reefs and related ecosystems  

        o       address priority management issues in 
                    individual countries or regions;   
        o       address the synergies between human effects 
                    and natural variations as causes 
                    of stress and degradation in coral reefs 
                    and related ecosystems;         
        o       involve interdisciplinary research into human 
                    impacts with initial priority on 
                    fisheries and tourism;   
        o       integrate traditional knowledge;         
        o       quantify the socio-economic impacts of 
                    conservation and habitat destruction;     
        o       address the scales and linkages of the 
                    biological communities; and       
        o       develop methods for impact mitigation and 
                    reef restoration. 

     Develop programs to involve communities, resource users, the  
private sector and others in monitoring the condition of coral  
reefs and related ecosystems. 

     Encourage regional and international forums which bring  
together managers and scientists to identify priority information  
requirements for management of coral reefs and related  

(d)     Review 

     Review of the state of coral reefs and related ecosystems  
and of action taken to implement the ICRI Framework for Action  
should be conducted at national, regional and international  
levels on a regular basis. 

     The four yearly cycle of the international coral reef  
symposia provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the  
ecological condition of coral reefs.  This should be matched by  
an equivalent program to review the effectiveness of  
implementation of actions in accordance with the ICRI Framework  
For Action. 

     At the international level, the UN Commission on Sustainable  
Development provides an appropriate forum for review of  
international actions taken at all levels by governments,  
international organisations and agencies.  The 1996 session of  
the Commission on Sustainable Development, with its focus on  
Chapter 17 (Protection of Oceans) of Agenda 21 will deal, inter  
alia, with coral reefs and related ecosystems. 

     UNEP should be encouraged to review the implementation and  
success of the ICRI Framework For Action through relevant  
programs including the Regional Seas Programmes. 

     Similarly the IOC through the Global Coral Reef Monitoring  
Network, should be encouraged to produce reports on the  
ecological condition of coral reefs and related ecosystems for  
discussion at the quadrennial International Coral Reef Symposia  
and other relevant international forums. 

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