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Case Study Details

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WWF Coral Triangle Programme 'Building a Coral Triangle in which people and nature thrive'

Executive Summary
WWF’s Coral Triangle programme was established with the aim of delivering conservation on a scale commensurate with the threats facing the planet. It is one of a series of global WWF initiatives focusing on priority places and species as well as drivers of biodiversity loss. This approach harnesses the full power of the global WWF Network by combining the field work undertaken by WWF national offices across the Coral Triangle region with policy, corporate partnerships and campaigns inpowerful strategies. The Coral Triangle Programme is a mechanism designed to conduct conservation in a way that would affect truly transformational change in a region with the highest level of marine biodiversity by building on the work by its offices in the Pacific Islands region and South East Asia, and enhancing their work through regional platforms and the support of the global WWF Network.

WWF has a network of programmes operating in a South South collaborative approach to deliver on its conservation goals and objectives for the Coral Triangle. The focus is to motivate regional and national change agents – governments, the private sector and civil society to transform their own behaviours. The desired outcomes of these actions in governance, equity and reduced environmental footprints are enhanced environmental protection and resource management, sustainable practices mainstreamed and strong national capacity within WWF’s offices in the Coral Triangle region. The results are expected to i) enable societies in producing countries to sustain their livelihoods and meet the demand for seafood for protein and trade; and ii) generate industry investment in protection of priority places for biodiversity conservation and to meet the growing demand for sustainable seafood and tourism.

The Coral Triangle programme works to provide innovative platforms for its partners and to enhance WWF’s national marine programmes in the Coral Triangle region which implement a range of MPA management initiatives, supporting governments and communities, engaging with the fishing sector to promote best practices, and advising the tourism sector on energy efficiency and sustainable marine resource use. Nevertheless, international drivers, often beyond the reach of these national efforts, are still threats and impact these efforts significantly. On critical issues where no single national – or even eco-regional - team could achieve success, the WWF Coral Triangle Programme approach adds an overarching regional perspective to the planning and delivery of ocean management in this part of the world. It is even reaching out in extended South South collaboration with WWF programmes in Coastal East Africa, sharing lessons learned in working on fisheries improvement projects with coastal fishing communities, offshore fisheries and with civil society engagement.

Actors Involved
1. WWF Indonesia

2. WWF Malaysia

3. WWF Philippines

4. WWF Western Melanesia Programme

5. WWF South Pacific Programme

6. WWF International

7. Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea

8. Private Sector

Environment and Conservation,  

SSC Components
1. Creation of enabling platforms to address threats that come from outside the influence sphere of individual country offices, and raise the profile of conservation strategies in- country to become more effective and sustainable. The platforms support policy engagement, funding for climate change adaptation, multi-stakeholder engagement for business and industry engaged in fisheries tourism and other marine related activities, and communications. These platforms will become autonomous self-sustaining entities to ensure their sustainability beyond the life of the WWF Coral Triangle Programme.
2. Building WWF national level capacity through the Global WWF network, funding raising externally and developing sustainable financing mechanisms.
3. Technical and Conservation Science support to the national offices.
4. Communications support by facilitating information sharing, promoting the work of WWF and its partners and maintaining high visibility and awareness of the Coral Triangle region. The programme is dependent on the in-country work of the national WWF offices operating in those countries in and around the Coral Triangle.

Lessons Learned
1. WWF saw that achieving its conservation goals for the Coral Triangle region also required an approach that would build on and enhance the work being undertaken through its in-country offices. The Coral Triangle Programme was needed to provide the multi-dimensional regional framework, working in a South to South geography with its national offices across the South East Asia and Pacific Islands region as well as drawing in the resources of the global network.
2. Promote innovative partnerships. Innovation was key to adding value to WWF’s National Offices. As the Coral Triangle Programme prototyped new partnerships and platforms, the core team focused on illustrating what these innovations could deliver and had to show progress fast. Using early successes, even while small, allowed for more discussion with both partners and WWF colleagues in the region. While this resulted in some feelings of disconnection between the Network Initiatives and National Offices at the start, and sometimes difficult relations with some partners, it also supported understanding and buy-in at a later stage that would not necessarily have resulted from more consultative meetings.
3. Invest in public relations. Investing in strategic relationships early on pays off as it reduces the level of effort and responsibility to operationalize a “big win” to result in the actual change. Achieving a “big-win” mid-way through a strategy can generate a lot of publicity, but investments in achieving this kind of success should not be underestimated. It is important to keep track of the cost-benefit balance of pursuing and drop it if it appears to become an end in itself.
4. Promote WWF Network transformation. There is often a disconnection between the work that WWF implements on consumer awareness and retailer purchasing policy in developed countries with the work to build natural resources management capacity in producing developing countries. More efforts should be invested to enable WWF offices to tackle such issues as poverty, equity and ownership of marine resources; issues not always part of the organization’s core focus. For example, more work can be done to support developing countries scale up supply of responsible and certified seafood that is increasingly requested by buyers from developed countries. Such transformative actions are critical to achieving WWF’s goals and objectives, not just for the Coral Triangle Programme but for the WWF Network at large.
5. Invest in on-the-ground conservation by WWF National in-country offices. As the Coral Triangle Programme works to create enabling conditions across the region — such as policy frameworks for conservation supported by significant financial resources — the work done by WWF National Offices in-country is key for continuing traditional conservation strategies, such as marine protected areas, while business practices and consumer choices begin to shift towards focusing on sustainability. To achieve and maintain the transformational change achieved through the Coral Triangle Programme, long-term investment into WWF’s in-country programmes is required by WWF and its network of offices around the globe for those countries operating in the Coral Triangle and Pacific Islands region. This includes funding support, technical input, administrative back up, enabling platforms (internally and externally) and building the in-country teams’ capacity to continue working at both national and regional scale beyond the life of the Coral Triangle Programme.

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