"The Indonesian government through President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono provides five million dollars for sustainable preservation and management of coral reefs in six countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI)," CTI spokesman Imran said in Wakatobi on Sunday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Association of District Administrations (APKASI) Imran said there there were two reasons Indonesia wanted to play a major role in preserving coral reefs in the six CTI member countries.
He said the first was that Indonesia has wider coral reefs than those of the other five other countries and was prepared to turn 20 million hectares of mining areas into national marine parks.
And the second, Indonesian waters have the most diversity of coral reefs namely 70 species of the world`s 850 species.
"The Caribbean sea has only 50 coral reefs and the Red Sea only 300," Imran said.
He added that besides having a very rich variety of coral reefs, Indonesian waters, especially in Wakatobi district, have various natural resource potentials for millions even billions of people.
Therefore, coral reefs in Wakatobi must be protected from damage to make them to remain sustainable for a certain period of time.
"The management and utilization of natural resources in Wakatobi waters at the center of world coral triangle should consider the principles of sustainable use," Imran said.
He said that to support the management and utilization of natural resources in Wakatobi waters, the government of Indonesia through the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry would soon establish a Coral Reefs Conservation School in Wakatbi.
The first school in ASEAN and even in the world, was scheduled to be inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in conjunction with the opening of Sail Wakatobi-Balitung 2011 later.
"The establishment of Coral Reefs Conservation School in Wakatbi is part of the government attention to protecting and preserving the coral reefs from damage," Imran said. (O001/H-NG/O001)