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 capacity building;
o research and monitoring; and
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
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
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
o assessing the potential for micro-enterprise
development and facilitating access
to financing on a small to medium scale.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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