ICRI's East Asia Regional Activities

ICRI's East Asia Regional Activities originated from ICRI's initial push for each region of the world to meet and prepare region-specific action agendas for coral reefs (1995). Among several regional workshops that were held throughout the world, three regional workshops took place in the East Asia region in: Bali, Indonesia (1996); Okinawa, Japan (1997); and Cebu, Philippines (2001).

There was however limited continuity of the discussion and policies developed in these workshops, and ICRI's regional focus remained dormant for close to a decade. However, as marine habitats in East Asia became increasingly under pressure from land and sea-based human activity, the need to revive ICRI's regional focus in East Asia became apparent. When Japan co-hosted the ICRI Secretariat (in partnership with Palau) in 2005-2007, it encouraged ICRI members to take urgent actions to develop MPA networks, and a recommendation was adopted to that effect at ICRI’s 20th General Meeting held in Tokyo in April 2007.

As a result, ICRI's regional approach was revitalised in East Asia. Lead by Japan, East Asia Regional Workshops have been held every year since 2008, focussing on assisting East Asian countries to achieve the 2012 global target on MPA networks set by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 and the 7th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2004. One of the main outputs of these workshops has been the compilation of an ICRI East Asia Regional Strategy on MPA Networks 2010. The Strategy aims to create a regional mechanism for cooperation and coordination of MPA management efforts, following up on previous actions adopted by the network.

It is envisaged that, through these regional workshops and related activities, efforts on MPA networks are enhanced and regional collaboration strengthened among ICRI partners in East Asia.

The East Asian region (Northeast and Southeast Asia) encompasses wide range of rich and diverse marine and coastal ecosystems including part of the "Coral Triangle", the global center of marine biodiversity. Coral Reefs and related ecosystems are sustaining vast majority of livelihood and economic health of these coastal nations.