AG/RES. 1428 (XXVI-O/96)
SUPPORT FOR THE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF SYMPOSIUM
(Resolution adopted at the eighth plenary session, held on June 7, 1996)
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
CONSIDERING resolution AG/RES. 1114 (XXI-O/91), "Inter-American Program of Action for Environmental Protection," which called for "hemispheric cooperation strategies for the protection and restoration of marine, insular, and coastal ecosystems," and encouraged collaboration with requesting member states in the development of their scientific research capabilities "to enable them to manage their ecosystems more efficiently and strengthen processes for arriving at environmentally sound decisions";
RECALLING that the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas, held in Miami, called on governments to "build capacity for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, through programs on management of parks and protected areas, . . . the Small Island Developing States Action Plan, the Coral Reef Initiative, . . . and the Caribbean Regional Marine Pollution Action Plan, among others";
NOTING that the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) has played an important role in giving new urgency and visibility to the need for conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems through the promotion of integrated coastal management, capacity-building, and monitoring to enhance research and management;
NOTING ALSO that Jamaica hosted a regional ICRI meeting, from July 5 to 8, 1995, in Montego Bay, involving 120 governmental and non-governmental participants from 38 countries and resulting in the Regional Agenda for Action, which identifies initial priorities in the region;
TAKING NOTE of the endorsements of the ICRI by other regional bodies, including the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's regional body, IOCARIBE, which met from December 11 to 15, 1995, in Barbados, and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Program Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which met from October 11 to 13, 1995, in Jamaica;
NOTING that coral reefs and related ecosystems exist in more than half the countries of the region, play key roles in social and economic development, and provide critical ecological services;
AWARE that the serious threats to coral ecosystems are mostly of human origin, that degradation has progressed from the local to the regional scale, that there has been a substantial decline in coral cover in some areas, and that the combination of human interference and natural disturbances is have serious effects; and
TAKING NOTE that Panama will host the Eighth International Coral Reef Symposium, from June 24 to 29, 1996, which is the first time that the world scientific meeting will be held in Latin America,
1. To take note of the International Coral Reef Initiative and urge member states to consider implementing it in the region.
2. To recognize the importance of integrated coastal management to the conservation and sustainable use of these important resources, supported by the critical contributions of science to the management thereof.
3. To invite the member states that will be attending the Eighth International Coral Reef Symposium, if they deem it appropriate, to assess the regional status of coral reefs and identify the contributions of science to their management as well as management priorities for action.
4. To note the importance of the International Coral Reef Symposium to be held in Panama as a means of contributing to an increased awareness among local communities in the region of issues relating to sustainable development.