Endings and Beginnings: Starting a new WWF Coral Triangle program, built on a legacy of success
The year’s end is always a good time to reflect.
This time, my note to you looks back on the seven years that I was fortunate to lead WWF's Coral Triangle team. As of January, I will hand the leadership of the WWF Coral Triangle program over to Jackie Thomas, as I take on another role within the WWF family.
The past years have been great and successful experiments in creating new partnerships, magnifying site-based conservation, and developing innovative approaches to help enhance the sustainability of the Coral Triangle region for biodiversity, fisheries, and people.
Ripples of changeThrough years of working together with partners on the ground, we are now seeing a wave of positive changes in the region.
Oceans are now at the forefront of national and regional policy agendas, there is fast growing recognition of the importance of oceans for food security and livelihoods, critical and major partnerships have been formed, and more resources have been mobilized for ocean conservation.
Responsible practices are being designed and adopted by a private sector that is increasingly aware of the need to actively participate in sustaining the Coral Triangle’s productivity and proactively taking steps to join multi-stakeholder partnerships to reduce the industry’s negative footprints on oceans, ecosystems, and resources.
The Coral Triangle has become a global icon of marine diversity, ocean productivity, and underwater wonders; a growing number of people living in the region are aware of its significance and threats and are taking actions to support its conservation.
WWF’s roleSuch enabling conditions have been made possible through WWF’s work with partners in the region, notably by:
- Helping convene the six governments of the Coral Triangle countries around an unprecedented new agreement—the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF)—to sustainably manage their marine and coastal resources.
- Supporting multi-country advocacy, which to date has mobilized approximately US$200 million from CTI-CFF partners.
- Creating a Climate Change Adaptation Marketplace to facilitate funding to flow to climate change adaptation projects in the Coral Triangle region.
- Initiating the debate around the benefits of a Blue Economy approach to support people, planet, and profit.
- Initiating the Coral Triangle Regional Business Forum (RBF) as a venue for business and industry leaders from around the region and other parts of the globe to come together to develop innovative business solutions that are both economically profitable and environmentally sustainable and to help create a thriving and bustling Blue Economy for the Coral Triangle region.
- Trialing new approaches to reducing fisheries’ footprint, especially for the reduction of by-catch (non-targeted catch of endangered species).
- Developing alliances for the further improvement of fisheries and aquaculture management such as the Coral Triangle Fishers Forum, Partnership Programme Towards Sustainable Tuna in the Philippines, Grouper Dialogue, Marine Fish Farmers Association of Malaysia, the establishment of a regional intergovernmental forum to improve the management of the live reef fish trade coordinated through SEAFDEC, and a private sector Tuna Pledge.
- Supporting the Tourism Energy Efficiency Investment Programme (TEEIP) pilot in Fiji and initiating its up-scaling to Bali, in support of conservation finance and coastal community livelihoods.
- Establishing an Asia Pacific Sustainable Seafood & Trade Network (APSSTN) as a regional platform promoting responsible seafood production.
- Popularizing the Coral Triangle as a unique and globally-important priority place. The Coral Triangle has now become a well-known icon of marine diversity, while in 2006 the region as a coherent entity barely existed in the world’s eye and was perceived as the domain of a few scientists and environmentalists.
- Amassing popular and public support for Coral Triangle issues by conducting region-wide public events such as the Coral Triangle Day. The Coral Triangle Day is now a widely adopted annual regional event celebrating the value of oceans and marine life, and is participated by thousands of individuals, establishments, and organizations.
- Bringing national issues to regional and international fora through media and communications outreach and using innovative tools, activities, and personalities such as Bobby Chinn to help reach more audiences on specific conservation issues.
- Facilitating partnerships with scientists, volunteers, governments, other NGOs and enabling agencies.
A new leadershipLooking back at all the notable achievements attained so far, I am confident that WWF’s work in the Coral Triangle will reach even greater heights in the future. And I am very pleased to introduce to you a new leader at the helm.
Jacqueline Poula Thomas, or Jackie as we know her, has been the Deputy Leader of the WWF Coral Triangle program for two years. She has been part of the core team since 2008 and has led our policy and advocacy strategy in relation to the CTI-CFF. Jackie represented WWF at external and internal events including high-level ministerial meetings and international fora such as the Rio +20 Summit and the IMPAC 3.
When Jackie came to the Pacific 10 years ago as volunteer, she was posted as conservation manager and eventually became the country manager for the Solomon Islands conservation program at WWF. She soon decided to stay in the region that she is so passionate about.
Starting January, Jackie will lead the WWF Coral Triangle team in its current exciting work to achieve its targets and will lead the planning of WWF's engagement and support for the next three years in the Coral Triangle and ensure that the program builds and capitalizes on the work of the past years and continues to support WWF globally and nationally to deliver the agreed targets in the Coral Triangle region.
Jackie brings a great set of skills, expertise, experience, and achievements to this position. Her love for the Pacific, her compassion for the difficult plight of coastal communities, and her great attention to detail of every aspect of her work make her the perfect person for this role.
Looking aheadFrom January onwards, I will take on a more global role within WWF looking into aspects of ocean and coastal areas management that enhance their delivery of food security and livelihoods, especially in parts of the globe where this is needed the most.
With this last Viewpoint as WWFs Coral Triangle leader, I invite you to contact Jackie as she embarks on the development of our continued support for the CTI-CFF and to contact me specifically around the opportunity to collaborate on a regional and global communications and development effort in support of coastal and marine conservation for fisheries and food security.
Onwards and upwards, and all the best wishes for a healthy and successful 2014!