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About the US CTI Support Program
The Coral Triangle provides a major
source of protein to more than 1 billion people.
Photo credit: US CTI PI/Stacey Tighe
A sea turtle at the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Sabah, Malaysia
Photo credit: Eric Madeja/WWF-Malaysia
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The Challenge
The clear ocean waters and warm, tropical currents in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific provide ideal conditions for marine life to thrive. In fact, more different types of corals are found in this region than anywhere else on Earth. These corals provide shelter, habitat, and food for millions of marine plants and animals, including more than 3,000 species of fish.

This triangular shaped region is known as the Coral Triangle. Fishermen harvest fish and seaweed from coastal waters to provide food and employment to hundreds of millions of people throughout Asia. Large-scale commercial fishing operations and the tourism industry annually pump billions of dollars into the countries within the Coral Triangle. The public and economic wellbeing of the region is very much dependent on the health of the marine resources in this 6-million square kilometer area.

The marine and coastal natural resources of the Coral Triangle—and the goods and services they provide—are at immediate risk from a range of factors, including over-fishing, unsustainable fishing practices, land-based sources of pollution and climate change. These threats adversely impact food security, biodiversity, employment opportunities, and standards of living for people dependent on this resource.

US Response
The U.S. government recognizes the value of this resource and established the US Coral Triangle Initiative Support Program (US CTI) to assist the leadership of the Coral Triangle countries in taking action to maintain this unique marine treasure. Spearheaded by the US Agency for International Development’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, in collaboration with USAID Indonesia, USAID Philippines, and USAID Timor-Leste, the program assists the CTI countries and the CTI regional secretariat to implement their regional and national plans of action through technical assistance and support capacity building, and access to cutting edge science.

  The US CTI Support Program seeks to improve the management of biologically and economically important coastal and marine resources and its associated ecosystems that support the livelihoods of peoples and economies in the Coral Triangle.  

US CTI Support Program Team
US CTI is implemented by the (1) the Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP), a consortium of the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy, with teams in the CTI countries to implement activities that align with the national plans of action; (2) the Program Integrator, based in Bangkok, Thailand, supporting program and partner coordination and providing technical assistance to CTI at the regional level; and (3) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, providing strategic technical assistance and training to support the CTI goals.

US CTI Support Program Results
US CTI uses a holistic approach to achieve results in three specific areas called out in the Regional Plan of Action 1) sustainable fisheries management, 2) marine protected area (MPA) management, and 3) climate change adaptation. On-the-ground activities in each country are connected regionally through shared learning networks and exchanges with technical staff to support the development of regional policies throughout the Coral Triangle. Thematic regional activity teams provide the necessary skill sets from all of the US CTI members to facilitate a coordinated approach to address cross-cutting technical issues. At the end of the 5-year project, US CTI will accomplish the following results:

  1. Strengthened regional and national platforms to advance policies for sustained impact. Through CTI, the individual Coral Triangle countries can speak with a stronger voice in the international arena and develop more robust regional policies that will achieve greater impact in sustaining the marine resources. Regional and national platforms provide the institutional foundation from which policies are created and enforced throughout the Coral Triangle. Through intensive multilateral collaboration with CTI governments, development partners, and the private sector, US CTI helps to establish alliances and strengthen the legislative and political institutions at the regional, national, and local level that are responsible for development of policies.
  2. Improved ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM). An EAFM considers interactions between humans and natural resources and enables fisheries managers to address common transboundary policy and regulatory concerns. US CTI leads the development and implementation of a 10-year EAFM framework and roadmap designed to ensure an integrated approach to sustainable fisheries management and address existing threats from unsustainable and illegal fishing practices. US CTI develops national guidelines and strategies that incorporate traditional practices and innovative techniques to reduce destructive fishing practices at the community level. US CTI strengthens capacity through the development and dissemination of case studies and curricula that will enable government staff, conservation managers and communities to better address issues related to EAFM, MPAs, and climate change adaptation.
  3. Improved management of marine protected areas (MPAs).An MPA is a coastal or offshore marine area where human activities are managed and regulated by authorities to preserve its ecosystem and cultural resources. Well-managed MPAs provide multiple benefits such as protection of fish spawning and nursery habitats, improvement of food security, and enhancement of the quality of life in surrounding communities. US CTI brings together MPA experts, policymakers and practitioners to strengthen management and enforcement of existing MPAs through the development and adoption of a region-wide CTI MPA system. Specific protocols will also be developed to enhance the effectiveness of any new MPAs that are designed. These activities bolster the CTI goal to create protected areas for 20 percent of the marine and coastal areas in the Coral Triangle by 2020. As of 2010, US CTI has supported the improved management of more than six million hectares of MPAs.
  4. Improved capacity of Coral Triangle countries to adapt to climate change. The Coral Triangle countries are already experiencing the impacts from climate change through rising sea levels and warming ocean temperatures that cause extensive coral bleaching, and more intense floods that destroy critical nursery grounds for fisheries and negatively affect coastal communities. US CTI supports the development and adoption by CTI countries of a CTI Regional Early Action Plan for climate change adaptation and works with the countries and other USAID bilateral programs to implement specific activities outlined in the Regional Early Action Plan.
US Support to the CTI Summary of Achievements (Click on the title to open PDF file)

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