Title of Project: INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF ACTION NETWORK (ICRAN)
Geographical Scope: The Wider Caribbean; Eastern African and East Asian Seas Regions
Implementation: International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), FAO, UNEP Regional Seas Programme
Duration of the Project:
Phase I - 12 months
SECTION 2 - BACKGROUND AND PROJECT CONTRIBUTION TO OVERALL SUB-PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION
Coral reefs are among the most productive, valuable, and biologically diverse of the world's ecosystems. Although they occupy less than one quarter of 1 percent of the marine environment, coral reefs are home to more than a quarter of all known marine fish species. They provide food, livelihood and other essential services for hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers, most in developing countries, whether as critical fish habitat, popular destinations for ecotourism, living space, or protection to coastal communities from storms and hurricanes. At least 500 million people live within 100 km of a coral reef, most of them in the South East Asian region, around the Indian Ocean, and in the Caribbean. Globally, coral reef fisheries support 30 to 40 million people. Alarmingly, reefs around the world are in a state of rapid decline, and the trend of decline in coral reefs is currently intensifying. The Reefs at Risk study, released in mid-1998 jointly by UNEP, ICLARM, the World Resources Institute and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, shows that as much as 60 percent of the reefs are at risk from overfishing, destructive fishing, pollution and sedimentation from the erosion of coastal lands.
To address the trend of the global decline of coral reefs, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), was launched in 1995 by Australia, France, Japan, Jamaica, Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom and USA, as a partnership among governments and organizations such as UNEP, ICLARM and the World Bank. ICRI seeks to implement chapter 17 of Agenda 21, which calls on states to take special care of marine ecosystems exhibiting high levels of biodiversity and productivity, giving special priority to coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves through catalyzing activities for the protection of coral reefs.
The first ICRI International Workshop, (Philippines, 1995) endorsed the ICRI Call to Action and developed the ICRI Framework for Action. The Call to Action outlines the threats to coral reefs and the broad principles and the direction for the ICRI partnership, while the ICRI Framework for Action, responds to the identified threats with actions in four principal areas: improved coastal management; capacity building; research and monitoring; and review. The 1995 ICRI Framework for Action was endorsed by 80 governments and a variety of NGOs and funding agencies. ICRI has been further endorsed by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the Commission on Sustainable Development, UNEP's Governing Council, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and by the eighth International Coral Reef Symposium in Panama.
The ICRI framework for Action, through involving governments, local communities, NGOs, coastal managers, the private sector, resource users and scientists, calls for actions to be taken in the following four areas of priority:
- Minimize or eliminate human induced impacts threatening coral reefs through the practice of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM), including the establishment and effective management of coastal and marine protected areas for coral reefs and related ecosystems;
- Build capacity and improve the sharing of knowledge, skills and information on coral reefs at international, national and regional scales;
- Promote research and monitoring as essential to managing coral reefs for the benefit of humankind, addressing both biological, physical, social, cultural and economical aspects of coral reef resources; and
- Review the status of coral reefs and the action taken to promote the ICRI Framework for Action on a regular basis.
UNEP's Regional Seas Programme was early on identified as the most appropriate system within which to implement the ICRI Call to Action at the regional level. Through a series of workshops organized by UNEP's Regional Seas Programme, supplemental Frameworks for Action with regional strategies and priorities have been developed in six regions to supplement the global Framework for Action. UNEP has further supported regional pilot activities, such as the development a Rapid Assessment Methodology for management of coral reef resources in the Eastern African region. However, overall lack of funding has severely restricted the implementation of the Framework for Action.
In November 1998, the ICRI Secretariat convened the International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium (ITMEMS) which reviewed the ICRI progress achieved in the regions and renewed the ICRI Call to Action. The ITMEMS experts, in the Renewed Call to Action, stated that “Improved monitoring data and detailed predictive studies presented at the International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium (ITMEMS98) indicate that in the four years since the issuance of the first ICRI Call to Action the state of coral reefs and related marine ecosystems has significantly worsened.”
In addition, events such as the 1998 widespread coral bleaching and infestations of coral-eating Crown-of-thorns starfish negatively effect the resilience of coral reefs and their ability to recover from human induced impacts. Though these events are natural, the relationships of their frequency and severity to human activities and phenomena like global warming are still unknown and remain an uncertain but important factor in the conservation of coral reefs.
The International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) is an umbrella activity developed collaboratively by UNEP and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM). The proposal encompasses a set of inter-linked activities meant to address the declining state of coral reefs by facilitating implementation, in a balanced manner, of the priorities identified within the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).
The ICRAN project will seek to facilitate implementation of effective coral reef management in areas that encompass over 90 percent of the reef area of the world, and which affect hundreds of millions of people who depend on coral reefs for food and livelihood.
Accordingly, this project can be deemed an exclusively charitable project because, as described in the objectives, activities and other sections of this project document, it is intended to enhance the livelihoods and social conditions of the indigenous peoples who depend on coral reefs for their economic well-being.
The project will build on the experiences from earlier activities and projects undertaken by UNEP, ICLARM and other organizations, including the following: ReefBase, the Global Coral Reef Database, developed jointly by ICLARM and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, to compile and broadly disseminate existing and new information and maps crucial to coral reef management. The Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) was established as a part of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) to provide the mechanisms to raise public awareness and involvement in coral reef management, to prioritize management needs and to evaluate management effectiveness. Associated with the GCRMN, the Reef Check program, hosted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has successfully involved over 300 groups around the world in gathering biophysical information about coral reefs. The University of Rhode Island (URI) has collaborated with ICLARM in developing methods for the Rapid Assessment of Management Parameters (RAMP) system. UNEP has promoted the use of socio-economic parameters in management of coral reef resources through the development of an integrated socio-economic and bio-physical Rapid Assessment Methodology for coral reef management in the Eastern African region as well as through the Management Group of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. The Coral Reef Alliance, CORAL, has been heavily involved in coral reef conservation activities, with a special focus on the development of public information campaigns, especially in support of the 1997 International Year of the Reef.
The ICRAN project encompasses two phases: a start-up phase of one year with funding agreed and an implementation phase of four years, immediately following the start-up phase. The major objectives of the start-up phase are to develop a detailed strategy for implementation of the ICRI Framework for Action during the coming four years of the implementation phase, to secure funding via the development of a Coral Reef Fund and to start up pilot activities in three selected regions. During the following implementation phase, the strategy will be realized in selected countries in all six ICRI regions. While funding is agreed for the start-up phase, funding for the implementation phase is dependent on co-sponsors and fund matching arrangements, and the project seeks to explore innovative ways of obtaining funding, i.e. through involvement of the private sector, such as hotel operators, dive operators and airway lines, in close consultation with the UN Foundation. The tourist sector is considered especially interesting in this aspect as coral reefs significantly contribute to tourism revenues. However, governments, financial institutions and NGOs are also anticipated to significantly contribute to the implementation phase of the ICRAN project, as they have in the start-up phase.
This project can be deemed an exclusively charitable project because, as described in the objectives, activities and other sections of this project document, it is intended to enhance the livelihoods and social conditions of the indigenous peoples who depend on coral reefs for their economic well-being. It is also intended to promote advancements in science and education.
2.2 Project Contribution to overall Sub-Programme implementation:
The project is complementary to the Decision 19/15 of the nineteenth Session and Decision 20/21 of the twentieth Session of the Governing Council of UNEP, the International Coral Reef Initiative, which endorsed the ICRI Call to Action and the Framework for Action and the ICRI regional strategies, and encourages UNEP to continue to play an active and leading role in the development, implementation and coordination of the International Coral Reef Initiative and help promote the establishment of regional programmes in each ICRI region. The Governing Council especially noted that the Regional Seas Programme of UNEP provides an important foundation for implementing the priorities identified in the regional strategies of ICRI. The ICRI Framework for Action Regional Strategies have been endorsed at the regional level in Eastern African, Caribbean and East Asian Seas region.
- This project is directly complementary
to priority issues, defined by the UNEP Programme of Work for the 1998
- 1999 biennium, which was approved by the Governing Council of UNEP, at
its 19th session in January to February 1997. It supports Subprogramme
1: Sustainable Management and Use of Natural Resources, more specifically
in Programme element 1.1: Caring for Fresh Water, Coastal and Marine Resources
in the following components:
- It also closely relates to Programme
element 1.2: Caring For Biological Resources, specifically the following
This project also recognizes the emphasis on coral reefs given by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and contributes to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and to Agenda 21:
- the Convention on Biological Diversity is designed, inter alia, to ensure the sustainable use of biological resources.
- Agenda 21, Chapter 17. Protection
and Management of the Oceans, all kinds of Seas including enclosed
and semi-enclosed Seas, and Coastal Areas and the Protection, Rational
Use and Development of their living Resources, which emphasizes the sustainable
utilization and development of marine resources, achieved through:
- Agenda 21, Chapter 26. Recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their communities. Chapter 26 stresses the role of indigenous people in the management of natural resources and conservation strategies.
- Agenda 21, Chapter 36. Education, Training and Public Awareness. Chapter 36 underpins the crucial role of information in the understanding of the close ties between human activities and the environment. More specifically, it invites the countries to encourage all sectors of society, including industry, universities, governments, non-governmental organizations and community organizations, to train people in environmental management.
SECTION 3 - NEEDS AND RESULTS
3.1.1 Overall need:
To reverse the trend of global degradation of coral reefs, through catalyzing the implementation of the global and regional Frameworks for Action of the International Coral Reef Initiative, ensuring a balance between adequate protection of coral reefs, wise development and sustainability of resources.
3.1.2 Specific needs:
There is a need to:
3.2.1 Overall result
- Minimize human induced impacts threatening coral reefs through the practice of ICM, including the establishment and effective management of coastal and marine protected areas for coral reefs and related ecosystems.
3.2.2 Medium-term results
Through implementation of the strategic plan in the implementation phase (years 2-5), the projects aims to achieve the following medium-term results:
Implementation: To develop a global system of demonstration sites encompassing coral reefs in which integrated coastal zone management and marine protected areas have been established including the full support of the local communities, and to develop mechanisms to ensure that the sites can serve to catalyze widespread, effective coral reef management.
Assessment: To facilitate coral reef management by providing accurate information at the national level on the status of coral reefs, their importance to indigenous people, the threats to the reefs and the best management practices to protect them, and to facilitate the development of a sustainable system to monitor coral reefs and the quality of life of people dependent on coral reefs for their livelihood.
Communication: To disseminate accurate information in support of coral reef protection to the general public, particularly coastal dwellers and policy makers; to develop highly effective training materials based on best management practices; and to develop a sustainable global system to provide training in coral reef management to stakeholders and local government personnel in coral reef areas.
3.2.3 Specific results
- A Strategic Plan that leads to effective implementation of the ICRI Framework for Action in selected countries in the regions during the second phase of the project.
- A Coral Reef Fund that generates substantial support for ICRAN phase II from governments, institutions, NGOs and the private sector, with possible matching funds from the UN Foundation;
- An analysis of successful approaches to ICM and management of MPAs is widely disseminated and i) contributes to improved management in Marine Protected Areas and design of ICM projects in the Eastern African region; and ii) functions as a basis for developing guidelines for other regions in ICRAN phase II. Through the process, MPA managers and other coral reef stakeholders are sensitized and their awareness and knowledge of management improved;
- A network of demonstration sites are functioning as training centers for a sustainable MPA training programme on best practices in management of MPAs in the Caribbean region; and
- A regional in-depth Reefs at Risk analysis in the East Asian Seas region is widely disseminated and in use by coastal managers of East Asian Seas region for coastal management and planning.
3.3 Assumptions to achieve results:
- Governments of the Regions will continue to support the ICRI Framework for Action, and make available to the project, the institutional basis and staff within their countries to carry out the project activities.
- Funding for project phase two (2000-2004) will be available through contributions of various donors to the Coral Reef Fund to be established during phase 1 of the project, as well as through matching funds arrangement from UNFIP.
- Expertise will continue to be available from ICLARM and UNEP, in particular from the Regional Seas Programme and the Regional Coordinating Units of UNEP, which are required to supervise activities related to the implementation of the ICRI Framework for Action.
SECTION 4 - OUTPUTS, ACTIVITIES, WORKPLAN AND TIMETABLE, BUDGET, FOLLOW-UP
To achieve the results above, the project will produce the following outputs:
4.1.1 A comprehensive strategic plan for implementation of the ICRI Framework for Action
Expected outputs will include:
4.1.2 Appropriate funding mechanisms
The project aims to hire a consultant,
who will establish a Coral Reef fund and secure financial support for the
second phase (the implementation phase) of ICRAN:
4.1.3 An analysis of successful approaches to Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
An analysis of successful approaches to
Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and management of Marine Protected
Areas (MPAs) with guidelines, recommendations, and needs assessment:
4.1.4 MPA training and establishment of demonstration sites of MPA management in the Caribbean
Demonstration sites of best practices in
management of Marine Protected Areas established and functioning as training
centers for a sustainable MPA training programme:
4.1.5 A Reefs at Risk-analysis in East Asian Seas
A regional in-depth Reefs at Risk- analysis
done in the East Asian Seas region and disseminated through a high quality
report as well as through the Reef Base CD-rom and websites:
Phase I of the project is based upon six interlinked activities:
4.2.1 Project Coordination
UNEP will designate a project coordinator who, in collaboration with the ICLARM project leader, will be responsible for overall project management and coordination of both ICLARM and UNEP-based project activities. Activities at the regional level, are implemented through sub-projects by UNEP's Regional Coordinating Units, regional projects and the supporting organization. UNEP and ICLARM will be responsible for selection and hiring of a consultant and of the UNEP and ICLARM research assistants. The Project Coordinating Office will establish and manage a database of ICRAN lead collaborating agencies and institutions involved in the coastal and marine environment of the participating countries, maintain an up-to-date contact list and ensure an effective two-way-flow of information between the project and the institutions.
4.2.2 Development of a comprehensive strategic plan for implementation of the ICRI Framework for Action
a) The project will conduct an analysis
of the factors currently inhibiting the implementation of the Framework
for Action in the target regions and globally, including an assessment
of the state of knowledge, institutional resources, projects, programs,
training materials and other tools, through ReefBase.
4.2.3 Development of funding mechanisms
The project will hire a consultant to mobilize funding for the second phase of ICRAN in consultation with UNEP, ICLARM and UNFIP, more specifically to carry out the following activities:
a) Develop and maintain relations with
potential donors such as government organizations, institutions, NGOs and
the private sector for support of the implementation of the action phase
of the ICRAN project.
4.2.4 An analysis of successful approaches to Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
An analysis of successful approaches to management of MPAs and ICM projects in Eastern Africa will be carried out through the UNEP/FAO project for Protection and Management of Marine and Coastal Areas in the Eastern African region (EAF/5). All key Marine Protected Areas will be reviewed and an in-depth analysis carried out on selected MPAs, including a review of the process of how they were established and an assessment of needs. A report will be prepared on the analysis of successful approaches to Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and current management practices of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with special consideration of community participation and women as coral reef resource users. The exercise will be focused on the production of guidelines and recommendations for management of coral reefs and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Eastern Africa, which may be used as a basis for development of guidelines for other regions.
4.2.5 Establishment of demonstration sites of MPA management in the Caribbean
The ICRAN project will work closely with the Caribbean RCU for training of MPA managers and the establishment of a regional system of demonstrations sites encompassing coral reefs in which Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established. These sites will serve as training centers to ensure widespread, effective coral reef management. This activity will be closely linked to the MPA/ICM analysis in the Eastern African region.
a) Development of the course manual and
modules on MPA management on the basis of the needs assessment undertaken
by the Caribbean Environment Programme of UNEP during 1998.
4.2.6 A Reefs at Risk-analysis in S.E. Asia
ICLARM will carry out a Reefs at Risk-analysis at the regional level in East Asian Seas. This will greatly enhance the utility of the Reefs at Risk-analysis to national and regional managers compared to the global analysis already published. Information at the regional level will be collated in support of the Southeast Asian Reefs at Risk Study, and consultations and supplemental analyses will be organized. The information gathered will be prepared for incorporation into, and dissemination via the ReefBase annual CD-ROM and website. In addition, it will be published in a final SE Asia 'Reefs at Risk'-report and widely disseminated. This sub-project will be done in close consultation with the EAS/RCU to avoid overlap and ensure complementarity with the planned GEF project for critical coastal habitats in the South China Sea.
4.3 Workplan and Timetable:
SECTION 5 - INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AND EVALUATION
5.1 Institutional Framework:
The project has two components which will
be implemented by UNEP and ICLARM. More specifically, ICLARM will have
the responsibility for implementation of the components concerning Development
of a comprehensive strategic plan for implementation of the ICRI Framework
for Action (Activity 4.2.2), Development of funding mechanisms (Activity
4.2.3) and the Reefs at Risk-analysis in S.E. Asia (Activity 4.2.6). UNEP
will have the responsibility for implementation of the following components:
An analysis of successful approaches to Integrated Coastal Management and
management of Marine Protected Areas (Activity 4.2.4) and Establishment
of demonstration sites of MPA management in the Caribbean (Activity 4.2.5).
UNEP implementation will be through UNEP Regional Seas Programme, more
specifically the Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (CAR/RCU), the FAO
Project for Protection and Management of Marine and Coastal Areas in the
Eastern African region and the East Asian Seas Regional Coordinating Unit
(EAS/RCU) The over-all project coordination will be within UNEP.