ICRI Active at UNEP LBS Con

Mark Eakin eakin at ogp.noaa.gov
Thu Nov 9 11:25:41 EST 1995

                      Subject:                              Time:  10:20 AM 
  OFFICE MEMO         ICRI Active at UNEP LBS Conference    Date:  11/9/95 

News from the ICRI Secretariat 

ICRI and UNEP Intergovernmental Conference on 
Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities 

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) concerns were addressed in 
numerous different ways during the UNEP Intergovernmental Conference on 
Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities, as agreed by 
the ICRI Executive Planning Committee. 

ICRI diplomatic activities during the Intergovernmental Conference included: 

	- References in speeches by government officials and others such as UNEP 
Executive Director 

	- Luncheon seminar to introduce delegations to ICRI 

	- Luncheon seminar on the economic impacts of pollution from land based 
activities on fisheries and coral 

	- Fact sheet on coral and LBS distributed to all delegations as part of 
Conference documentation 

	- Information booth at Conference Educational Forum 

	- Diplomatic viewing of ICRI/USIA award-winning video during reception at 
The Smithsonian 

	- Side-bar conversations with numerous delegations 

U.S. Vice President Gore highlighted case studies of success in management 
coral ecosystems and The International Coral Reef Initiative as part of his 
remarks to the Ministers of the UNEP Intergovernmental Conference.  

Partnerships with the Philippines and Thailand to promote sustainable coral 
reef management (particularly fishery and tourism sectors) were linked with 
the goals of the International Coral Reef Initiative.  They were important 
examples of his principal theme:  "And the only way to stop the degradation 
of the marine environment from land-based activities, is to share the 
solutions, just as we share the oceans." 


	In the Philippines, where over-exploitation of that country's coral reefs 
has become too common, we have seen similar community-based approaches.  
Marine Management Committees, established by local villagers, have 
established marine reserves -- including a fishery breeding sanctuary and a 
surrounding buffer area for ecologically sustainable fishing.  Also, fishing 
methods that use dynamite and very small mesh gill nets (biomass fishing) 
have been halted.  The result has been an increase in species diversity, a 
greater total fish yield and sustainable economic growth. 

	And, let me cite one more example -- the coral reefs off Thailand, in Phuket 
Bay.  Because of tourism and fishing, the coral reefs are vital to Thailand's 

	Worldwide, coral reefs are widely recognized as one of the world's 
"essential life support systems."  But, as we all know, they are in grave 
danger.  Some sources estimate that 10 percent of all reefs have been 
degraded beyond recovery and that 20 to 30 percent may be lost -- primarily 
due to human activity -- by the year 2010. 

	After the Earth Summit in 1992, the United States along with Japan, 
Australia, Jamaica, France, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Sweden 
embraced a major initiative to protect coral reefs in partnership with 
nongovernmental organizations, development banks, the private sector, and 
other coral reef nations such as Thailand. 

	The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is not a treaty, a body of 
cumbersome regulations, or a bureaucracy.  It is a framework for interested 
parties, public and private, to work together to tackle a common, shared 
problem before it gets out of hand. 

	For Thailand, that has meant an extensive campaign for public education 
which as taught the people of Thailand to give the highest importance to 
investing in their own resources.  This in turn has meant the development of 
a series of small-scale projects which have brought concrete results. 

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