27 Dec CTC and UNTL Sign MoU to Promote Sustainable Management of Marine and Coastal Resources in Timor-Leste’s Waters

Coral Triangle Center (CTC) was visited by three representatives from Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) Timor-Leste in early December 2023. The visit’s objective was to sign the Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) between CTC and UNTL in marine conservation and capacity building.

The UNTL team was represented by Prof. Dr. Joao Soares Martins (Rector of UNTL), Dr. Tome Xavier Jeronimo (Vice Rector), and Dr. Paulo (Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries). Rili Djohani, Executive Director of CTC who welcomed the delegations from UNTL, said that “a joint collaboration between CTC and UNTL not only safeguards Timor-Leste’s seas but also illuminates pathways towards broader collaboration. With UNTL’s involvement, the impact extends beyond conservation, shaping the future through research and education.” 

Currently, CTC collaborates with Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to enhance local marine resource management and support the country’s establishment of its marine protected areas (MPAs), such as the country’s two MPAs: Atauro MPA (13,252,22 hectares) in Atauro Island, and Samba Sembilan MPA (8,372,20 hectares) situated in Liquica. CTC is also supporting MPA establishment in the south of Timor-Leste in the Manufahi Municipality as well as another candidate MPA in Metinaro on the north coast of Timor-Leste.

Further, CTC supports a number of training sessions promoting marine biodiversity, ecosystem-based management, economic benefits, and community facilitation. Some of the key activities that CTC has carried out in Timor-Leste include biophysic and economic surveys as well as identification of capacity-building activities at the community and government levels. 

During the visit, UNTL and CTC expressed their intent to cooperate in research, surveying and monitoring, capacity building, marine and fisheries management, information exchange and dissemination, joint fund-raising, and other related issues to ensure sustainable management of marine and coastal resources in Timor-Leste . Both parties agreed to sign the MoU as a joint commitment which promises a brighter, more sustainable future for Timor-Leste’s oceans.

After signing the MOU, CTC also presented a film showcasing marine conservation efforts in Atauro MPA, Timor-Leste. The film provided a comprehensive overview of the efforts, highlighting the unwavering commitment of local people, government organizations, and CTC staff members to protect the abundant biodiversity of Timor-Leste’s coastal waters.

UNTL Rector Prof. Dr. Joao Soares Martins expressed excitement about signing a MoU with CTC, hoping to extend it beyond paper and explore more conservation areas. He expressed his hope to conduct training for students and faculty members and mobilize academic members to participate in CTC’s conservation efforts.

TheMoU between UNTL and CTC aims to promote sustainable management of marine and coastal resources in Timor-Leste. The partnership will focus on capacity building, joint research initiatives, and information exchange, empowering local communities, government entities, and academic institutions. The MoU represents both parties’ commitment to a brighter and more sustainable future for Timor-Leste’s oceans, ensuring a well-informed and actively engaged community in marine conservation. The partnership also promises a legacy of environmental stewardship and shared knowledge, ensuring a sustainable and resilient marine ecosystem for generations to come.

Writers: Arapa Efendi, Marthen Welly
Photos: Rili Djohani/CTC, Arapa Efendi/CTC, Adam Putra/CTC

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