Coral reefs, the major topic of discussion in the World Coral Reef Conference (WCRC) in Manado, on May 14-16, 2014, are being looked at for sustaining food security and saving the world from global warming.
Officially opened by Indonesian Vice President Boediono, the conference in Manado, North Sulawesi, was attended by marine and coral reef experts from a number of countries, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Britain, and the United States.
In his opening remark, Vice President Boediono said WCRC was expected to yield an agreement on sustainable coral reef management for peoples welfare.
"All relevant parties in this conference should work together to reach an agreement on sustainable coral reef management," the vice president noted in his opening address here on Friday.
He remarked that all participating countries will discuss their plan of action in their efforts to save the coral reef ecosystem and ways to promote sustainable management of coral reefs.
The Indonesian vice president reiterated that coral reefs were part of the worlds ocean ecosystem with a rich biodiversity, and therefore, they should be protected in a sustainable manner.
"Indonesias coral reefs are home to schools of fish, different species of fish and other marine biota of various types that have to be protected for the welfare of all people in this country," Boediono affirmed.
He pointed out that the Indonesian waters have a rich variety of reefs, including fringing reefs, barrier reefs and patch reefs that need to be well protected.
According to the vice president, around 60 million people of Indonesia live alongside the coastline and entirely depend on the coral reefs for their livelihoods.
"With such a condition, it is understood that Indonesia is vulnerable to the degradation of the coral reefs on which it is highly dependent," the vice president emphasized.
Therefore, he said as part of Indonesias commitment to the coral triangle initiative, the country in 2010 declared part of its territorial waters as marine resources conservation areas.
Meanwhile, Marine and Fisheries Minister Sharif C. Sutardjo, a coordinator for the National Organizer of WCRC, said the conference is also expected to deliver the Manado Communiqu, an agreement aiming for the realization of sustainable coral reef management.
Furthermore, the event can drive the countries with long coastlines to initiate their own coral reef protection and conservation programs.
He said the conference was jointly coordinated by the central and regional governments following rising concerns about the degradation of coral reefs throughout the world.
The conference is important, specifically to take stock and compile the synchronization and establishment of policies and actions in the management and utilization of coral reef resources, WCRC national committee Chairman Sudirman Saad said.
The summit also aims to collect and formulate shared values, perceptions and purpose in the management of coral reef ecosystems as treasured natural resources to be inherited by future generations.
Moreover, the event also provides an opportunity to inform and adopt best practices, methods, approaches, knowledge, science and the latest technology to be applied to coral reef resources management, particularly of local coral reef ecosystems.
"WCRC is expected to lead to sustainable coral reef management, an action plan from coastal countries to save coral reef ecosystems and steps towards a sustainable coral reef management convention," Sudirman reiterated.
Manado city administration spokesman Haefrey Sendoh stated that WCRC is a summit of countries with coral reefs to highlight the importance of coral reef ecosystems to human life and ways to preserve them.
"We have made all the necessary preparations to host this prestigious international event in a bid to save the coral reef ecosystems," Haefrey stated in Manado recently.
He claimed that they were ready to ensure security and to make the city of Manado clean and comfortable for this international event.
The appointment of Manado to host this international event was inseparable from its extensive marine potential with the diversity of coral reefs that covers one third of the worlds coral reef areas.
In addition, naming Manado as the base of Permanent Regional Secretariat for Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI - CFF) on May 15, 2014, has confirmed Manado as world coral reef capital city.
CTI-CFF is a multilateral partnership of six countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Island, and East Timor, established on 2009 with the mission of eradicating the real threats faced by the Coral Triangle.
The Secretariat, which is to reside on a 1.5 hectare new complex in Manado, will act as the control centre and the main coordinating board to implement the CTI-CFF regional action plan.
Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif Sutardjo said the action plan covers the establishment of seascapes towards the focus of the marine resource management, the development of the water conservation zones, the sustainable fishery management building, the adaptation reinforcement of the coastal areas to the climate change and the conservation of the endangered marine species.