22nd ICRI General Meeting
Location:Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dates:Fri, 2008-07-11 - Sat, 2008-07-12
Summary of Key Conclusions and Outcomes
- Shark Conservation. The GM adopted a recommendation on shark conservation which highlights the alarming rate of shark depletion worldwide, stresses the importance of sharks to the health and resiliency of coral reef ecosystems. The recommendation calls upon ICRI members and other governments and relevant organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sharks, improve data collections, support increased research, and promote implementation of the UN General Assembly resolution on Sustainable Fisheries and the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.
- Ad Hoc Committees. The GM adopted updated terms of reference for the continuation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Economic Valuation of Coral Reef Ecosystems and the Ad Hoc Committee on the East Asia Regional Workshop. The ICRI secretariat will post on the ICRI Forum, for a six week comment period, proposed additional terms of reference for the Ad Hoc Committee on Enforcement & Investigation. The Secretariat will revise the proposal based on members' comments and post the revisions, with a view to having the terms of reference approved as soon as possible.
- ICRI Statement. The GM agreed that ICRI will send a statement to the World Conservation Congress (5-14 October, 2008 - Barcelona, Spain) relaying the urgency for management actions expressed at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium (11th ICRS) where over 3000 experts from 80 countries discussed the state of coral reef science and management and highlighted the urgent need for immediate actions to address threats to coral reefs, especially chronic stressors such as overfishing and decreasing water quality, in order to make reefs more resilient to climate change impacts. The ICRI statement will be useful to ICRI members in their own work. The USA (USAID Barbara Best) will coordinate preparation of a draft statement, drawing on the 11th ICRS outcomes as discussed by the GM. The draft statement will be posted on the ICRIForum for inputs from ICRI members.
- 11th ICRS Outcomes. The GM agreed on the need for a concise analysis of the coral reef management implications of the 11th ICRS outcomes, noting that Conservation International (CI) would be undertaking such an analysis regarding marine protected areas and connectivity issues in particular. USAID Barbara Best agreed to contact CI and World Bank Marea Hatziolos (ICRS Super Chair for coral reef management mini-symposia) to explore the possibility of combining efforts to produce a concise analysis of the ICRS management-related outcomes in select areas.
- Letter to UN-DESA Secretariat. The GM agreed to the substance of a letter from the ICRI Co-Chairs to the UN-DESA Secretariat recommending peer review of the coral reef related chapters of the pending publication, "Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Development and Reversing Climate Change," in particular with respect to the use of artificial or engineered reefs.
- Review of ICRI Procedures and Networks. The ICRI Secretariat will conduct a review of the "Organization and Management Procedures for the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)," including Article 6 - ICRI Networks, with a view to streamlining and updating the procedures based on experiences gained since 2005 when the procedures were revised. The Secretariat will be assisted by a small working group including France, GBRMPA (Australia), GCRMN, ICRAN, IYOR Coordinator, ReefCheck, and UNEP. Proposed revised rules will be posted for comment on the ICRI Forum prior to the next General Meeting when they will be discussed and if possible finalized.
- Future IYOR activities. Among the many activities planned by the IYOR Coordinator to raise awareness about coral reefs, the GM agreed to sponsor an ICRI-IYOR side event at the upcoming Conference of Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (29 October-5 November 2008, Changwon, Korea). The IYOR Coordinator will plan the side event with input from Members to highlight the coral reef-mangrove relationship.
- Consultation with international organizations. The GM agreed that ICRI should work more closely with the secretariats of relevant international organizations and conventions, including the CBD and Ramsar secretariats, with a view to delivering shared messages on coral reefs to relevant governing and subsidiary bodies, sponsoring ICRI related side events, and identifying opportunities for shared activities.
- Participation at General Meetings. The GM urged Members and the Secretariat to take steps to strengthen participation at General Meetings, including from under represented regions, the scientific community, relevant international organization secretariats (such as the World Heritage Convention and UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program), and coral reef countries that are not currently ICRI members, as well as to re-engage countries and organizations that have not recently attended ICRI meetings. It was noted that events sponsored by ICRI and ICRI members, such as the East Asia Regional Workshop planned for November 2008, might provide opportunities for engaging new partners.
- Format of General Meetings. In preparing the draft organization of work for the next GM, the Secretariat will consider suggestions from Members to explore a thematic and/or regional focus with targeted reporting on case studies and lessons learned, inviting experts to make presentations on the status of coral reefs, and the use of break-out sessions and lunch time and evening side events to discuss specific issues. The Secretariat will also explore with Members the merits of revising the format for Member reporting.
- Next General Meeting. The next GM will likely take place in the March-April 2009 timeframe, possibly in the Indian Ocean (where a GM has not been held since 2005). The Secretariat will inform Members when the schedule is firm.
- Next Secretariat. The GM welcomed the offer by France to host the ICRI Secretariat for the 2009-2011 biennium