Cablegate: Coral Triangle Initiative: Background & Guidance

DE RUEHC #3448/01 2702058
R 262052Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

Ref: N/A

1. This is a joint State-USAID action request for Manila, Jakarta,
Kuala Lumpur, Dili, Honiara, Port Moresby, Bangkok, and Canberra. See
para 7.

2. Summary: Posts are requested to provide political and public
diplomacy support to highlight USG involvement in the Coral Triangle
Initiative (CTI), and to encourage the six governments involved to
take the ambitious steps needed to make the initiative a success. The
Coral Triangle is a 5.7 million square kilometer region of great
biological abundance and diversity bounded by the Philippines,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and Papua New
Guinea. The heads of these six countries have agreed to work together
under the CTI to promote sustainable fisheries, sustainable
livelihoods and adaptation to climate change. CTI has been endorsed
by the White House. The USG in coordination with the governments of
these states (plus Fiji and Vanuatu), the GEF and ADB, the Government
of Australia, and a consortium of NGOs headed by World Wildlife Fund
for Nature (WWF) is providing significant support to the CTI. The
project seeks to preserve the unique biology and improve the
management of marine resources, which directly support the lives of
over 120 million people and contribute to regional stability and food
security. End Summary.

3. The Coral Triangle covers roughly 5.7million square kilometers of
ocean and is "the epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity"
on Earth, with over 600 coral species; 3,000 fish species; and the
greatest extent of mangrove forests of any region on the planet. In
August 2007, Indonesian President Yudhoyono proposed the multilateral
"Coral Triangle Initiative" partnership to preserve the region's
unique marine and coastal biological systems. These systems are now
significantly at-risk due to overfishing, destructive fishing methods
(e.g. dynamite / blast fishing), habitat degradation and conversion,
climate change, and land-based sources of pollution among other
factors. At the APEC Summit Declaration in September 2007, 21 leaders
in the Asia Pacific region welcomed the CTI. Since then this
initiative has steadily gained momentum. The USG first publicly
announced its intent to provide financial assistance to the CTI in
December 2007 at the Bali Cop-2 meetings. The "CT-6" governments are
working to finalize the regional "CTI Plan of Action" by May 2009,
when the World Oceans Conference will be held in Manado, Indonesia.
Substantial early donor commitments have already been made by the
USG, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Asian Development
Bank (ADB). We expect other bilateral donors, in particular
Australia, to also provide significant financial and/or in-kind

4. The CTI as currently conceived is a five-year project that focuses
on protecting the marine and biological systems of the region in the
Pacific called the Coral Triangle: an area bounded by the littoral
states of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon
Islands, and Timor-Leste (known as the "CT-6" countries). Under the
GEF and ADB umbrella funding, Fiji and Vanuatu are also included in
the Initiative. This region's biological resources produce direct
economic benefits that support over 120 million people living in the
region, and provide further positive economic externalities for
millions worldwide. The CTI is the logical extension of three decades
of US-investments in costal resource management, fisheries and
marine-protected area work funded through the USAID-supported
Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecosystems (SSME) matching grant program,
USAID-supported bilateral programs with Indonesia and the
Philippines, USAID-supported seascapes in Indonesia and Papua New
Guinea, USAID-supported biodiversity programs in the Pacific, and
State/EAP -funded marine and coastal programs in the South Pacific.
The CTI builds on these successful USG programs and investments in
coastal resources management and marine conservation in the Coral
Triangle region, and using lessons-learned from previous initiatives
actively promotes cooperation and coordination among the six main CTI
nations and two neighboring islands.

5. Department of State has provided start-up support of $750,000 for
the CTI Secretariat over two years. USAID has programmed regional and
bilateral support up to $40 million for the CTI over five years in
its budgets starting in FY08. The USAID project will fund NGO
consortium activities that meet specific, well-defined program and
project needs. A "rolling design" will allow the program implementers
to meet needs identified in national and regional CTI plans of

STATE 00103448 002 OF 004

action. (Descriptions of NGO consortium activities are provided
below.) If emerging needs or unexpected exigencies arise during
implementation, the flexibility of this "rolling" program design will
allow various components or milestones in specific projects to shift.

6. Roles of the Various Actors:

-CT-6 governments: For the CTI to reach its full potential, host
governments will need to take the lead in their respective countries
in developing appropriate plans, investing human and financial
resources, and creating effective policies and regulations to carry
out the key aspects of the CTI program. Without this leadership, the
CTI will be nothing more than an externally-driven, donor-led plan
that will not achieve success or sustainability. The region is
littered with such failed efforts and the CT-6 governments, with
encouragement from donors, should do everything within their means to
avoid a similar fate. In the near term, host governments need to
establish a National Coordinating Committee (NCC) with as
broadly-based representation of government and non-government
stakeholders as possible, develop a CTI National Action Plan (NAP),
engage actively in formulation of the Regional Action Plan, push to
meet ambitious timelines envisaged in the CTI plan, make necessary
policy and regulatory reforms for sustainable fisheries and marine
resource management, increase investments (budgets) in sustainable
resource management, if at all possible identify and provide staffing
and financial support to establish and maintain an effective CTI
secretariat, and maintain open communication with NGO Consortium
representatives active in their country.

-USAID/RDMA: provides overall management, coordination, and
administrative support for the integrated USG program through its
Bangkok mission. RDMA will coordinate with appropriate USAID mission
officers and CTI "Cognizant Technical Officers" in Indonesia,
Philippines, and Timor Leste; as well as appropriate USG Mission
officers in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and
Vanuatu. The RDMA will also explore possibilities to work in
conjunction with NGOs to address demand-driven resource degradation
problems emanating from China.

-USAID "Program Integrator" (PI): In September 2008, USAID selected a
contractor (ARD-Tetra Tech) to function as a "Program Integrator."
The central role of the PI is to provide, promote and coordinate USG
support to the CTI. In addition, the PI coordinates the regular
exchange of information among USAID partners, RDMA, bilateral
missions, USAID and State representatives in Washington, and other
USG agencies, coordinates dialogue among donors to avoid duplication
, provides program coordination and administrative support for the
CTI, consolidates semi-annual financial and progress reports, plans
program assessments, provides technical and training support for the
Secretariat, and conducts long-term sustainability planning.

-US Department of State: The Department of State with funding from
EAP and expertise/oversight by OES is providing FY 07 funding to the
NGO consortium to support the establishment and strengthening of a
Regional CTI Secretariat. The Secretariat's role will be to
coordinate the interaction of the six governments involved, key NGOs,
and other relevant multilateral actors to ensure that the CT6 move
toward timely production of the CTI Regional Action Plan. The
Government of Indonesia has seconded staff to provide initial support
for the Secretariat. The consortium NGOs (see below) will contract
and mentor six (one from each CT-6 country) interim staff for the
Secretariat, until a more permanent Secretariat can be established,
and provide staffing capacity in the run-up to the World Oceans
Conference in May 2009.

-NGO Consortium: The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation
International (CI), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) are the lead
implementing NGOs on this project for both the State and USAID
assistance programs. These NGOs have developed and delineated the CTI
concept in partnership with the CT6 country governments. They
continue to play this intermediary role, as well as to serve in an
advisory capacity to the Secretariat and the National Coordination
Committees (NCCs) who will serve as arms of the Secretariat at the
national and local levels. The following provides brief detail on the
CTI focus/role of each.
-World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF): WWF has a 40 year history of
conservation and resource management work in the Coral Triangle (CT)
region, (NOTE: delete, as part of that investment is from USAID) and
their WWF Coral Triangle Program is built upon over 20 years of
experience and lessons learned from substantial site-based work.
Their current work in the region is focused on five transformational
themes: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and sustainable financing of
MPAs; sustainable fisheries, species conservation and management,
with a focus on sea turtle bycatch; climate change; and tourism.

STATE 00103448 003 OF 004

-The Nature Conservancy (TNC): TNC has been active in the Coral
Triangle region since 1991 and has well-established conservation
programs in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. TNC
established the Coral Triangle Center in Bali in 2000, and launched
the Coral Triangle program in 2006. To date, TNC has provided funding
for Key interim Secretariat staff and for "CTI Plan of Action"
Roadmap-related activities. The Nature Conservancy's goal in the
Coral Triangle is to help establish 15% of the coral reef systems in
effective conservation management in the next 10 years; it has also
taken a leading role in the selection and design of resilient Marine
Protected Area (MPA) networks. TNC is involved in efforts to
understand how to identify and protect those reefs most resistant to
bleaching and currently is working in seven large MPA networks across
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
-Conservation International (CI): One of CI's highest-priority goals
for 2005-2014 is to establish protective management regimes in five
key seascapes globally - in ocean ecosystems with the most species at
risk, and to initiate 20 new marine protected areas for marine
wildlife and critical habitats. CI's programs are managed by
highly-qualified professionals located in Indonesia, Papua New
Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Australia. CI technical
staff consists of complementary specialists in species conservation,
coastal zone management, integrated conservation and development
projects, governance, policy, communications and education. CI
specifically supports policy reform in Philippines, Indonesia, and to
a lesser extent in PNG, the Solomon Islands and Sabah. CI has
supported 42 institutions (government, local communities, academic
institutions, and NGOs) in the Sulu-Sulawesi and Papuan Bird's Head
Bilateral USAID Missions: Bilateral missions in the Philippines and
Indonesia are devoting a portion of bilateral assistance money to the
RDMA's CTI Program, and in addition will support other CTI-relevant
projects in light of the centrality of environmental, food security
and regional stability goals in those mission's foreign assistance
strategies. USAID Missions through their CTOs will retain approving
authority over the use of the funds they contribute to the RDMA's CTI
Program. In addition, bilateral missions will continue or expand
their support of programs that contribute to CTI objectives.
-Local Community Groups and NGOs: A critical component of the CTI is
the participation and substantive involvement of local community
groups and NGOs in development of National Action Plans and in
overall efforts to implement the CTI. These groups will work with the
NCCs on daily implementation of the CTI projects and help spread
awareness of the importance of CTI. The regional "CTI Plan of Action"
is also intended to be inclusive of women, minorities and
marginalized groups, represent local sentiments and viewpoints, and
to be sustainable given specific local needs and capacities.

-Other USG Agencies: Other USG agencies not named above (such as NOAA
and DOI) may be engaged for specific CTI-related tasks through
Interagency Agreements.

-Other Donors: Donors such as the ADB, UNDP, World Bank, other
developed countries, and various national or international private
foundations, such as the Walton Family Foundation, may potentially
provide significant funding or leverage third-party resources for
CTI. ADB has been selected to manage a portfolio of GEF activities
in South Asian and Pacific countries.

7. Action requested: The CTI is a significant and very complex
USG-supported initiative which has the prospect of addressing in an
integrated fashion a region of considerable importance to the
prosperity, sustainability, stability and viability of this six
nation-plus, multi-million person ecological region. State and USAID
urge posts to utilize political and public diplomacy tools in as
active a manner as feasible to highlight USG support for the CTI and
encourage host governments to take the steps necessary for the
initiative to meet its far-reaching goals. Posts are also encouraged
to report on CTI activities undertaken, host country and civil
society views, and other information pertinent to understanding the
evolution of CTI efforts and updating USG strategy. Posts are also
urged to continue pressing countries for improved fisheries
management, improved coastal management and environmental/ regulatory
reforms. Among specific steps posts are encouraged to consider are:

-Utilize meetings and demarches, as appropriate, to convey strong US
interest in, and support for CTI and its objectives, and to identify
and encourage support from host government officials whose buy-in is
crucial to CTI progress.

-Urge host country governments to devote sufficient attention and
resources to make the initiative successful and to identify and task
appropriate ministries and staff to work together on CTI as their
primary focus. Encourage these personnel to work closely with the CTI

STATE 00103448 004 OF 004

Secretariat and/or national Coordinating Committee members to develop
their national Plan of Action. Encourage countries to accelerate
their CTI efforts so as to meet the May 2009 target to present a
regional CTI plan at the World Oceans Conference.

-In coordination with Embassy PAOs, identify public diplomacy and/or
public information resources and opportunities to highlight the
importance of CTI, USG support for the initiative and local
involvement with CTI activities.

-Continue the practice of supporting sound fisheries management and
environmental regulatory reform with CTI 6 governments.

-Ensure appropriate US mission officers have regular communication
with WWF, TNC, CI, and PI representatives on CTI topics.

-Report back to State / USAID on CTI related topics.

8. Department and USAID appreciate posts' efforts to support the CTI
initiative as part of what we realize is already a very full plate.
Department and USAID would welcome comment and feedback on your
information and how we can assist you in promoting the success of CTI
in your country. First POC's for CTI inquiries are: State: Christine
Dawson, OES/ENRC and Ariel Wyckoff, EAP/RSP; USAID: Barbara Best,
EGAT/NRM/W, John Wilson ME/TS and Charles Barber EGAT/ESP/MPC, and
RDMA Bangkok: Winston Bowman, Rene Acostas. Bilateral POC's for the
CTI are:
State: Howell Howard, ESTH Officer/ Bangkok; Joe Murphy ESTH Hub
officer/ Suva;
USAID: Alfred Nakatsuma, USAID/Indonesia; Daniel Moore,

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC