President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono was honored by three global environmental and conservation organizations, with the first-ever “Valuing Nature Award”, for his conservation efforts.
The award, given by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), was presented to the President during a dinner at the Conrad Hotel
in New York (photo below).
TNC is a leading conservation organization that works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters. The WRI is a global environmental and development think tank and the WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization.
Indonesia, with an area of nearly 2 million square kilometers and over 230 million people, is considered to be one of the most important countries when it comes to sustainability, particularly because of its biodiversity, forest and marine resources.
The three organizations specifically recognized Yudhoyono for his leadership in establishing the multilateral Coral Triangle Initiative, which will sustain marine and coastal resources in six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.
The region, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, is home to more than 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 37 percent of coral reef fish. In total, the coral reefs, mangroves, and associated natural habitats are valued at US$2.3 billion.
These resources provide jobs, food and business opportunities for millions of people in the region. Under Yudhoyono, the Coral Triangle Initiative brings together an unprecedented partnership of governments with public sector, private sector, NGOs and others. It offers a model for connecting marine conservation to the health and security of local communities.
Under Yudhoyono’s administration, Indonesia pledged to achieve 20 million hectares of marine protected areas across the country by 2020, in which the protection will be strictly enforced and sufficiently financed. To date, Indonesia has maintained 13.4 million hectares of marine protected areas, considerably exceeding the target of 10 million hectares by 2010.
WRI president Andrew Steer said during the award presentation ceremony, which was also attended by Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, that some leaders prioritize economic growth, others social equity and others environmental protection. “But Indonesia, under President Yudhoyono, is showing that smart environmental, growth and social policies can be mutually reinforced,” Steer said. “The world is watching and admiring this quest for a triple win”.
“There is an urgent need to scale up the pace and collaboration in marine conservation because the challenge simply cannot be conquered by one nation alone,” said Glenn Prickett, TNC’s chief external affairs officer.
“President Yudhoyono understands this, and recognizes the extraordinary marine life abundance and diversity in the Coral Triangle region,” Prickett said, explaining that Yudhoyono’s personal call to action to address threats in this globally important region led to the start of the Coral Triangle Initiative.