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SOM7 approves CTI-CFF charter; officials elect Malaysia as chair of Council of Ministers

by Lourdes Margarita last modified Nov 09, 2011

Senior Officials from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste (CT6) approved the charter of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) during the 7th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM7) in Jakarta, Indonesia from 24-28 October 2011.

CT6 officials also gathered for the 3rd Ministerial Meeting (MM3) where they elected Hon. Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Malaysia’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) as the new Chair of the CTI Council of Ministers (CTI-COM).

“The chairmanship will be a challenge, especially as the CTI is in the transition process of establishing a permanent Regional Secretariat, and has sought to achieve sustainable financing of its initiatives,” said Dr. Ongkili.

Papua New Guinea was chosen for the Vice Chairmanship of the CTI-COM and will be represented by Hon. Thompson Harokaq’veh, MP, Minister for Environment and Conservation, and Hon. Ronald Asik, Vice Minister for Forests and Office of Climate Change and Development. All three officials will serve a two-year term starting from 20 November 2011 to 19 November 2013. Dr. Ongkili took the reins from outgoing chair, Indonesia’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF).

SOM7 Agreements recognize political and economic realities of members

The approval of CTI’s charter was a landmark decision since officials deliberated on it for more than two years. It consists of a main text, the Agreement on the Establishment of the Regional Secretariat of the CTI-CFF, and three implementation guidelines (Rules of Procedure, Staff Regulations, and Financial Regulations).

Other major decisions made during SOM7 were the following:

  • The permanent secretariat will be based in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
  • Only four of the CT6 countries are required to complete the ratification process for the Agreement to be enforced.
  • The two countries which have not ratified the Agreement at the time it is enforced will still enjoy full rights provided that they “demonstrate progress towards completion of their domestic requirements for acceptance or approval or ratification and act in good faith within their legal capabilities to meet their responsibilities under the Agreement.”
  • The 60:40 rule will serve as the guide for the CTI’s Financial Regulations. This means that the operating expense budget for the permanent Regional Secretariat will be borne by the CT6, with 60% of that budget divided equally among them and 40% divided according to the size of their GDP relative to the total GDP of the CT6.

SOM7 also deliberated on the first progress report of the CTI-CFF from 2009–2011, agreed on a roadmap for 2012 (including activities to be taken towards the establishment of a permanent Regional Secretariat in 2013), and chose a logo. The compromises and agreements made during SOM7 were significant because these affirmed the CT6’s commitment as a group and recognized the economic and political realities of each member.