Coral Reefs, one of the most diverse and fragile ecosystems on earth, are increasingly being destroyed. With the objective to reverse this global trend, essential knowledge for the conservation and rehabilitation of coral reefs has been accumulated over the past decades, and valuable technical options have been developed. However, as long as the framework conditions leading to the destruction of coral reefs and associated ecosystems persist, rehabilitation will hardly be successful. Policy options for the sustainable management are only feasible if they allow to reconcile the requirements of conservation with the economic and social demands of the people relying on these natural resources. By its very nature, this challenge of managing coral reef ecosystems sustainably calls for international and interdisciplinary approaches. Against this background, the EU-Workshop offers a platform for subject matter experts from various regions of the world to share their expertise and experience and discuss policy options for the sustainable use of coral reefs and associated coastal ecosystems. The objectives of the workshop are
1. to create a forum of exchange and establish a network to facilitate future co-operation,
2. to review the lessons learned from recent approaches in coral reef ecosystem management,
3. to assess transdisciplinary issues of managing coral reefs and coastal ecosystems, and
4. to identify priorities for social, economic, and policy research aiming to promote the sustainable management of reefs.
Four panels - consisting of thematically focused presentations and discussions - will debate key research and management issues of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, and derive policy implications: The first panel deals with the economic valuation of coral reefs and shows how this instrument can be used to support policy-makers in identifying appropriate and efficient conservation strategies. The second panel presents technical options to improve reef assessment, reef conservation, and reef rehabilitation and identifies conducive policy frame conditions for implementing these options. The third panel reviews experiences with the essential role of stakeholder participation in coral reef management and highlights the associated policy processes. The fourth panel discusses current experiences and future challenges of establishing conservation networks at the national, regional and international level. Suggestions for policy relevant research issues will be derived from each panel session. A field trip will allow the participants to observe both well protected and degraded reefs in the area, and to share the views of the local population on coral reef management.
The working group sessions on the last day will allow the participants to take-up the suggestions identified during the panels and the field trip in order to develop proposals for future co-operation.