Pemuteran coral restoration wins awards

From the Jakarta Post, by Ni Komang Erviani on 2012-06-27

A coral reef restoration project in Pemuteran bay, Buleleng, North Bali — about 130 kilometers from Denpasar — was awarded the Equator Prize by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Karang Lestari, the community-based foundation that initiated the project in Pemuteran, has been recognized for its outstanding success in promoting local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

The award was presented by Helen Clark, UNDP administrator, to I Gusti Agung Prana, the representative of the Karang Lestari Foundation, on June 20 during the Equator initiative gala event at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Karang Lestari was one of 25 recipients from 812 nominations submitted by communities in 113 countries across the developing world. The recipients of the Equator Prize 2012 will each receive US$5,000, with 10 selected for special recognition and a total of $20,000.

In addition to the Equator Prize, Karang Lestari Foundation also won the UNDP Special Award for marine and coastal zone management. The award was given on June 21 during the conference.

“This award, obviously, is for all Pemuteran people as the project would not run smoothly without the support of the community,” the chairman of the Karang Lestari Foundation, I Gusti Agung Prana, said on Tuesday.

Karang Lestari received the Equator Prize in the oceans category. Other recipients were the Pacari Network (Brazil) in the biodiversity category; the Namdrik Atoll Local Resources Committee (Marshall Islands) in the community-based adaptation category; the Abrha Weatsbha Natural Resource Management Initiative (Ethiopia) in the dry lands category; the Medicinal Plants Association (Egypt) in the energy category; Women and Land (Tajikistan) in the food category; the West Africa Initiative of Liberia (Liberia) in the forest category; the United Women Artisans’ Association of Los Límites (Colombia) in the waste category; Shashwat (India) in the water category; and Swazi Indigenous Products (Swaziland) in the women’s empowerment category.

The Equator Initiative is a partnership that brings together the UN, governments, civil society, businesses and grass roots organizations to advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As a part of the Initiative, the Equator Prize helps share the message that biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, which are being lost and degraded at alarming rates, are essential to ensuring global sustainability.

“We were really surprised at the award because the selection process was very tight and took a long time. We did not even know when the team was coming to Pemuteran. They did it without informing us. They did it quietly,” Prana said.

Pemuteran’s coral restoration project has been running since 2000 as a collaboration between the Karang Lestari Foundation and the Global Coral Reef Alliance. The project, which has planted around 70 “bio-rock” coral reef structures, each of a different size and shape, has restored the devastated coral reefs and fisheries of Pemuteran bay. The alliance claimed the project to be the world’s largest, longest running and best coral reef
restoration project.

Previously, the project had received numerous accolades, including the Konas Award from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry for the Best Community Based Coastal Management in 2002, the Asianta Award and Kalpataru Award from the President of Indonesia in 2005, the Pioneering award from the Bali administration in 2007, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold Award in 2008, and the Tri Hita Karana Award in 2011.

Former minister of tourism and culture and the project’s sole advisor, I Gde Ardika, said that he was elated to hear about the UNDP recognition.

“This proves that the project is recognized by the world,” he said from Bandung during a teleconference meeting with Karang Lestari’s stakeholders.

“This project is real evidence that the tourism sector can work side by side with the community in preserving the environment. It should be replicated by the Bali tourist industry.”

Buleleng Marine and Fishery Agency head, Nyoman Sutrisna, said that the Buleleng administration would follow the success of the Pemuteran coral reef restoration project. The same project would be replicated on other parts of
Buleleng’s coastline.

“Buleleng has 157.05 kilometers of coastline. We expect that we can implement the same method of coral reef restoration in Lovina, Kerobokan and other beaches,” Sutrisna stated.


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