Improving human and environmental conditions through the Coral Triangle Initiative

Progress and challenges

Article appearing in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

  • Co-Author:
  • Patrick Christie with Diana M Pietri, Todd C Stevenson, Richard Pollnac, Maurice Knight & Alan T White
  • Publisher: Elseiver
  • Date: April, 2016
Current Opinions in Environmental Sustainability

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) is an ambitious marine conservation and governance program engaging six countries in Southeast Asia and Melanesia that has attracted significant international support, including an investment of over $40 million from the United States through the five-year U.S. Coral Triangle Initiative Support Program. In this paper, we examine outcomes of the USCTI documented through the Learning Project (LP), a collaborative, interdisciplinary project capturing lessons learned from USCTI and CTI-CFF. The co-design process and collaborative spirit of the LP allowed it to collect a large body of information from a diverse range of informants in a relatively short time frame and provide important documentation of the achievements and challenges of USCTI. For instance, social surveys of resource users and policy makers in the Coral Triangle region and the United States document that the CTI-CFF has resulted in impressive management outcomes, including: improved MPA enforcement, increases in national and regional management capacity, leadership creation, and integrated conservation-fishery-climate change planning. Significant challenges remain to ensure that overall planning processes effectively link regional-level, national-level, subnational-level (district/provincial) and community-level efforts and that international donors and policy-makers, managers, and resources users in the region remain committed to this conservation experiment.