TA-7753 Strengthening Coastal and Marine Resources Management in the Coral Triangle of the Pacific Regional Planning Meeting, 27 – 29 April 2015 Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, Australia Welcome Remarks by Andrea Ifland Director, Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office Asian Development Bank Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to all of you. On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, I welcome you to the Coral Triangle Pacific Regional Planning Meeting. We are fortunate to partner with the Global Change Institute of the University of Queensland to host this meeting and provide us with their technical expertise to review the list of proposed activities for financing under this regional technical assistance project. A representative from the Coral Triangle Initiative Regional Secretariat also joins us this week to participate in discussions and support coordinated action in the Pacific toward food security, resilient coastal management, and climate change adaptation. It is significant that we are here, virtually at the foot of the Great Barrier Reef, which is an ideal example for us of the use and benefits of best-practice coastal management. Six years after the launching of Coral Triangle Initiative in Manado, Indonesia, in 2009, a platform for coordinated action has been established in response to the collective threats facing the coastal and marine resources and, of course, the people of the Coral Triangle. These threats include impacts of climate change, overfishing, use of destructive fishing methods, pollution, and other strains on these fragile and globally significant ecosystems. The process by which neighboring countries developed the Initiative’s Regional Plan of Action and its associated national plans is a remarkable demonstration of how regional cooperation in pursuit of mutual interests can benefit all involved. The Asian Development Bank strongly supports such regional cooperation, and we are pleased to have helped this process. We must work together to promote and advocate a better understanding of the linkages between oceans and climate change as well as the adverse likely impacts of climate change on ecosystems, marine biodiversity, food security, and quality of life of the region’s coastal communities. There is a need to strengthen our partnerships and our networks for capacity building and information exchange on pressing resource management and climate change issues. This technical assistance project has strong potential to make a significant contribution to improving the relevance and effectiveness of the Coral Triangle Initiative by (i) strengthening national and community institutions in sustainable coastal management; (ii) increasing the resilience of coastal ecosystem management through climate change adaptation; (iii) creating opportunities to apply best practices in resources management; and (iv) generating and disseminating knowledge for policy and decision makers, practitioners, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders. Recommendations from the mid-term review of this project will be presented to guide country programming activities and to help prioritize contributions to the results framework on which the success of this program will be assessed. Thank you for joining us in this endeavor to make the project as effective as possible. I look forward to hearing the results of the planning meeting and the ways in which ADB can help the Coral Triangle Pacific countries meet their coastal management goals.