The second General Meeting under the Australia-Belize Secretariat was held from the 14-17 October 2013 in Belize City, Belize. Australia and UNEP provided travel support to a number of delegates therefore enabling their participation in the meeting. Over 60 delegates from about 30 countries attended (list of participants). View photos of the meeting.
Minutes of the meeting (PDF File)
The ICRI Membership welcomed seven new Members:
- Costa Rica
- Interamerican Association for Environmental Defence (AIDA)
- Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP)
Ad Hoc Committees
New Terms of Reference were adopted for the Ad Hoc committee on Enforcement & Investigation, the Ad Hoc committee on Economic Valuation of Coral Reef Ecosystems, and the Ad Hoc Committee on Coral Reef Associated Fisheries.
- New ToRs – Enforcement & Investigation (PDF File)
- New ToRs – Economic Valuation of Coral Reef Ecosystems (PDF File)
- New ToRs – Coral Reef Associated Fisheries (PDF File)
The Ad Hoc Committee on the lionfish invasion in the Caribbean (or Regional Lionfish Committee, RLC) continues to exist under the same terms of reference for now; however the question of embedding lionfish management efforts in existing institutions within the Caribbean still remains. The RLC launched its flagship publication, the Regional Strategy for the Control of Invasive Lionfish in the Wider Caribbean. Next steps for the RLC include helping countries and territories elaborate local strategies based on this regional strategy.
Resolutions & Recommendation
One recommendation was adopted:
- recommendation on addressing the decline in coral reef health throughout the wider Caribbean: the taking of parrotfish and similar herbivores (in English, Spanish and French) – This recommendation urges Nations and multilateral groupings of the wider Caribbean to take action to protect parrotfish (and similar herbivores) to improve coral reef resilience and to restore ecosystem balance.
Three resolutions were adopted:
- resolution on using co-management approaches for marine protected areas and other mechanisms for managing coral reefs and associated ecosystems (PDF file) – This resolution calls on ICRI members to adopt and implement sound co-management arrangements for the protection of their coral reefs.
- resolution on the Continuing Call to Action and Framework for Action 2013 (PDF file)
- resolution on the revised Organisation and Management Procedures (PDF file)
These two resolutions update the three foundational documents of ICRI.
Community-based management workshop day
Congruent with on the hosting themes of the joint Australia-Belize Secretariat, a full day of the 28th General Meeting was devoted to the theme of community-based management for coral reef and related ecosystems. The workshop day was divided into two sub-themes: coral reef monitoring (including community-based monitoring); and co-management.
The morning session on coral reef monitoring presented the result of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network’s (GCRMN) latest report entitled: Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 (the Caribbean report), a major synthesis and analysis of over forty years of data on coral reef condition in the wider Caribbean. Several monitoring programs in the Caribbean were presented (e.g. Ecomar, Healthy Reefs Initiative, AGRRA, CARICOMP, CATLIN), fostering discussions on options, possibilities and ways forward for sound GCRMN monitoring networks in the Caribbean and other regions of the world – including data storage and analysis. Panel discussions commenced at the end of the morning session were continued in a parallel session in the afternoon, focusing specifically on the GCRMN Caribbean Network.
The main findings of the GCRMN Caribbean report were translated into a recommendation on the taking of herbivores, particularly parrotfish (see above).
The afternoon session focused on coral reef co-management approaches, and participants had an opportunity to share experiences and workshop key principles behind sound co-management practices for coral reefs and associated ecosystems, which were then summarized in a resolution (see above resolution on co-management).
Regional initiatives and Operational Networks
ICRI East Asia Initiatives
The outcomes of the 9th ICRI East Asia Regional workshop, held on 9-12 September 2013 in Singapore, were presented. The workshop focused on management effectiveness.
UNEP’s Coral Reef Partnership
UNEP’s Coral Reef Unit presented a refined concept of the ‘Global Coral Coast Partnership’, a support framework for national and regional actions to reduce pressures on coral reefs and related ecosystems which would work primarily through Regional Seas. ICRI members were asked to consider collaborating with the partnership, submit comments and suggestions and approved the participation of the ICRI Secretariat in the partnership as an ex-officio member of the partnership governing body.
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network
A side meeting was held to discuss governance issues for the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN). The main ideas behind of these discussions were reported on the first day of the meeting, and included:
- Current challenges encountered by the GCRMN, including financial, lack of coordinator and consequential lack of communication with regional networks;
- The need to secure funding to resolve these challenges, starting with the hiring of a new coordinator
- The need to clarify the role and composition of the GCRMN governing bodies e.g. the GCRMN Management Group. Terms of Reference for the Management Group were discussed, and will be circulated for further discussion before the end of the Australia-Belize Secretariat tenure.
Parallel discussions held on the revival of the GCRMN Caribbean Network led to the following conclusions:
- The network shall be named ‘GCRMN Caribbean Regional Committee’ and include a core group of people involved in monitoring (<10) which will be co-chaired by the GCRMN coordinator and a rotating regional member.
- The membership of this Committee should be identified with the help of local key players with the help of ICRI members and the ICRI Secretariat.
- The members of this Committee will gather information as geographically assigned, and in turn, provide feedback and support to data providers including on protocol and management.
- The Committee would meet on a regular basis to assemble data/information and discuss challenges and way forward. The Netherlands offered to host and support a first meeting of this Committee.
It was agreed that although this model would work for the Caribbean region, it would not necessarily be applicable to other regions, which will be approached on this matter to provide comment/suggestions.
Next ICRI hosts
A handover ceremony was held to reflect the passing of the ICRI Secretariat from Australia and Belize to Japan and Thailand (incoming Secretariat). The tenure of the incoming Secretariat will start on 1 April 2014; the two co-hosts will hold secretariat duties for two years.