Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje will present the various investment opportunities in the coastal and marine sector when he speaks during the Coral Triangle Initiative High-Level Financial Round Table meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center today (Thursday).
Paje said that with the Philippines touted as the “world’s center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity” and having one of the most number of marine protected areas in the world, it is “a very practical area of investment for coastal and marine protection.”
Paje will discuss the country’s five priority projects aimed at accelerating coastal and marine conservation, when he gives his statement as one of the ministers of the six-country Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.
These projects are: establishment of endowment fund as sustainable financing mechanism for activities listed in the country’s National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the CTI; designing a coastal and marine-based payment for ecological services; the reversion of abandoned, unutilized and undeveloped fishponds into mangrove forests as a climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy; enhancement of the monitoring system through the establishment of a national coastal and marine database through an integrated information management system; and the establishment of a national integrated coastal and management program to develop the country’s coastal areas and improve the quality of life in coastal communities.
Paje said that the projects were identified to address gaps and challenges in fulfilling the country’s targets and goals in protecting the coastal and marine environment, mainly the lack of funding support to guarantee the sustainability of plans and programs.
He added that the Philippine government is willing to commit a counterpart fund of US$ 40.8 million, or thirty percent of the US$136 million needed to jumpstart the projects, to “solidify the country’s intentions in providing a sustainable coastal and marine environment to its stakeholders.”
The CTI High-Level Financial Round Table meeting will also see environment, fisheries, marine affairs and science ministers of the other member countries discuss their respective national funding priorities to entice development partners, such as the Asian Development Bank, US and Australian Governments, and the Global Environment Facility, to invest in the CTI.
The CTI is a partnership among Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste to sustain the marine and coastal resources within the Coral Triangle by addressing issues such as food security, climate change and marine biodiversity.
The CTI financial meeting is a side-event of the four-day Asian Development Bank (ADB) 45th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors currently being held at the PICC. The ADB meeting is being attended by ministers of finance and development, central bankers, representatives of the private sector, civil society and the media to discuss issues on poverty reduction, which is the ADB’s mission.