What a permanent Secretariat means for the CTI-CFF | WWF

What a permanent Secretariat means for the CTI-CFF

Posted on 07 June 2014    
Five years after the Coral Triangle Leaders signed their “Declaration on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security” that launched the CTI-CFF, the 5th Ministerial Meeting in Manado, Indonesia, in May 2014, should be remembered as the milestone event that institutionalized—in the practical sense—the operational continuity of the Initiative – with the ratification of the Permanent Secretariat.

The engine of the CTI-CFF

The Permanent Secretariat will be the neuralgic centre of the CTI-CFF. The body is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Initiative's Regional Plan of Action, which was collectively adopted in 2009 by all 6 member Coral Triangle countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands).

It will also be in charge of organizational development, outreach and communication, regional coordination and mechanisms, technical and thematic working groups, the development of key regional reports, and capacity development, while serving as the main liaison for all CTI-CFF official functions (e.g. the bi-annual CTI-CFF Senior Officials Meetings and the annual CTI-CFF Ministerial Meetings). In a sense, the Secretariat makes sure that the CTI-CFF is greater than the sum of its regional parts.

What happens next

With the CTI-CFF Council of Ministers (CTI COM)having already approved the 2014 Operations Plan and Budget of the Regional Secretariat, the body is almost ready to operate.
The 2014 Operations Plan focuses on the process to set up the Permanent Secretariat, putting in place operating systems and securing sustainable financing.

The activation of the Permanent Secretariat required at least 4 countries ratifying the Secretariat’s establishment. At the 5th Ministerial Meeting Solomon Islands and Timor Leste joined Malaysia and Indonesia in ratifying the Permanent Secretariat Agreement. Philippines and PNG have both signed the agreement and are progressing towards ratification. As a next step, the Secretariat and the Government of Indonesia will need to finalize the Host Country Agreement and recruitment of the Executive Director.

The Secretariat will be based in Manado, Indonesia, at a facility called “CTI Centre” that the Indonesian Government has built to serve as the CTI-CFF headquarters.

A long-awaited “promotion”

Critically, the formal endorsement of a Permanent Secretariat sends a signal that, more than ever, the ownership of the CTI-CFF and its coordination firmly rests on the shoulders of the 6 member countries, and more specifically on those of the Secretariat for “day-to-day” operations. Moving the Secretariat from the crowded headquarters of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to a modern-looking building complex in Manado is also a symbolic promotion of the importance of the Secretariat.

The importance of the coordination role was reflected in the comments made by Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty to CTI-CFF members during the Ministerial Meeting: “ultimately, your power to influence depends on how effectively you are collectively managing the Coral Triangle. This brings us back to the role of the CTI in facilitating complementary management across the breadth of the Coral Triangle.”

The CTI-CFF keeps on innovating

Concurrently with the ratification to proceed with the establishment of the Regional Secretariat, the CTI-CFF Ministerial Meeting ushered in a new framework for the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System (CTMPAS) and for the implementation of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management, in a bid to foster better marine and coastal area management and protection. No less importantly, the event also saw the launch of a CTI Women Leaders Forum, a peer-learning network for women who are playing key leadership roles and who are leading endeavours that promote marine and coastal resource management (read an interview with one of the Women Leaders here).

About the CTI-CFF

The CTI-CFF is a government-led multilateral partnership established in May 2009 that aims to safeguard the marine and coastal resources of the Coral Triangle region. The 6 Coral Triangle countries collectively adopted a regional plan of action, followed by each country’s adoption of a national plan of action. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono initiated and led the CTI-CFF process during the UN Convention on Climate Change meetings in Bali in 2007. Find out more on the CTI-CFF website.

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