The Philippines may be facing tensions with China over the resource-rich Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal but it is fostering cooperation with five other countries to protect the rich marine life in the Coral Triangle.
The Coral Triangle covers six million square kilometers across the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste and features a high diversity of corals, fish and other marine life.
Senior officials from the Coral Triangle countries and who are involved in the environment, fisheries, marine affairs and science, will meet in the Philippines Thursday to meet with finance ministers.
They will discuss sustainable financing strategies to protect the coral reefs, fisheries and food security in the region.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the meeting was part of a regional cooperation programme that seeks to sustain the wealth of marine life and coastal resources in the area.
Resources in the Coral Triangle are threatened by destructive fishing, overexploitation, poorly managed coastal development and climate change, according to the DENR.
The high-level financial roundtable seeks to strengthen ties between finance and environment officials and to put in place financial strategies that would address long-term needs in carrying out the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.
The Coral Triangle ministers are also expected to discuss how to get more funding and support for various projects for the region.
They will tackle how to harness resources from national budgets, leverage private sector investments, obtain development partner assistance, and develop other sustainable financial mechanisms, such as payment for environmental and ecosystem services.
After the roundtable discussions, an event dubbed the “Marketplace” would be held, where the national coordinating committee would present priority projects with budgets to prospective development partners.
It will be a networking session where discussions can be held and needs of the countries matched with interested partners.