October 6, 2008

Papua New Guinea Among Recipients of Taiwan Bank’s Environment Aid

Text of report by Papua New Guinea newspaper The National website on 6 October

Papua New Guinea is one of several countries in the Asia-Pacific who will benefit from a 350,000 US dollar (915,454 kina) Taiwanese assistance to help protect its natural marine environment.

The Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd's Coral Triangle initiative is a new multilateral partnership working to safeguard the marine and coastal resources of the coral reefs, the world's centre of marine biodiversity. The funds will be administered by Worldwide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Coral Triangle programme.

According to WWF, the Coral Triangle is the most diverse marine region on the planet, matched in its importance to life on earth only by the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin. Defined by marine areas containing more than 500 species of reef-building coral, it covers 5.4m km/sq of ocean across six countries in Asia-Pacific - Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.

It also directly sustains the lives of nearly 130 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna while healthy reef and coastal systems underpin a growing tourism sector.

WWF PNG communications officer Lydia Kaia said WWF would be working with many different partners in the Pacific to ensure these funds helped them realise their conservation goals.

Ms Kaia said the funds would help to establish a system of marine managed areas in the Pacific and to conserve the Pacific's unique biodiversity, such as the threatened green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

"The SCB grant will help to empower key stakeholders and conservation practitioners in the Pacific to strengthen, and where necessary establish and implement, effective regional and national policies, strategies and governance processes that support sustainable marine resource management and biodiversity conservation," she said.

She said these funds and others would also help WWF ensure that by 2020, 10 per cent of the priority coral reef habitats of the coral triangle were protected and managed with effective financing in place; there was zero decline in the populations of green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles from 2007 levels; and that the degradation of key marine resources - coral reef habitats, turtles, reef fish and tuna - were halted and reversed.

Originally published by The National website, Port Moresby, in English 6 Oct 08.

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