|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
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.