International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

CTI Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Programme (ATSEA) - under the Coral Triangle Initiative

In the Southeast Asia-Australia region, the Arafura and Timor Seas are one of the last remaining centers of tropical marine biodiversity, including the fishery resources. Arafura and Timor Seas are known to have high abundance of fisheries resources as well as rich in marine biodiversity. However, this region has relatively less information and data available.

Thus, the annual production from fisheries in the Arafura and Timor Seas region is very difficult to estimate, given existing gaps in data collection and analysis, and the high illegal, unregulated, and unreported (UII) fishing in this region. In addition, other threats persists, such as potential of increased incidence of natural threats associated with climate change as well as rapidly expanding coastal populations, increasing urbanizations, high level of poverty and limited economic opportunities which can increase exploitative pressures on natural resources, degradation of coastal habitats, marine pollutions form both land and sea based sources, and aquatic invasive species.

To manage its vast resources as well as overcome existing problems, Arafura and Timor Seas Expert Forum (ATSEF) was established with a clear objective to assist the stakeholders who depend upon the Arafura and Timor Seas in achieving the goals of sustainable development to support their livehood.

During 2006 – 2007 ATSEF developed a bid for funding under the United National Global Environment Facility (GEF) knows as the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) program. On May 14th 2010, ATSEA program was officially started. ATSEA program is a manifestation of further effort at understanding and addressing existing problems at Arafura and Timor Seas by ATSEF, undertaking a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), development of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP), and implementation of innovative demonstration project. A number of approaches could be undertaken in order to complete TDA and SAP process. As recommended in the framework report of ATSEA program, one key activity in developing TDA of Arafura and Timor Seas is to conduct oceanographic survey in these regions using a Research Vessel.

ATSEA program is a vital forum for bringing the littoral nations of the Arafura and Timor Seas to work on the transboundary marine issues, with the objective of ensure the integrated, cooperative, sustainable, ecosystem based management and usage of the living coastal and marine resources, including fisheries and biodiversity of the Arafura and Timor seas, through the formulation, inter-governmental adoption, and initial implementation of a regional SAP. To reach its objective, five foci were set as the ATSEA program main outcomes:

  1. Approved TDA which identifies the Arafura and Timor seas transboundary priority environmental problems, environmental and socio-economic impacts, sectoral and root causes and governance analyses
  2. A comprehensive SAP and National Action Programs (NAP) which are agreed and adopted at national (inter-ministerial) and regional (intergovernmental levels)
  3. Initial implementation of some SAP and NAP components, through targeted demonstration projects, addressing high priority transboundary issues identified by the TDA, to demonstrate the capacity of the littoral nations to cooperate in implementing joint activities, as the foundation for full SAP implementation in the future phase/follow up project.
  4. Develop and strengthen ATSEF as an effective regional mechanism for the cooperative eco-system based management of the ATS region, through the implementation of SAP and consideration of future models for regional engangement, to be agreed by the participating government
  5. Effectively coordinated and managed ATSEA program, according to budget and workplan, and including arrangements and procedures.
Other (not set)

North Australian Shelf (LME) , Arafura Sea , Timor Sea

Asia , SIDS (Asia) , South-Eastern Asia , Oceania , Melanesia , SIDS (Oceania) , SIDS , Small island developing States


Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 3522
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 14 May 2010
End Date 30 Dec 2014
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 2,500,000
Total Cost of the project: USD 7,950,000
YES - See results data (3522)
Indonesia , Papua New Guinea , Regional

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project contacts
Nilanto Perbowo Government Officer
Achmad Poernomo Secretary
Gabriel Antonius Wagey Regional Project Coordinator
Jose Erezo Padilla Regional technical Adviser(RTA)