The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in partnership with the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), is hosting a five-day international conference dedicated to coral reef protection.

The 4th Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium (APCRS) will be held from June 4 to 8 at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu City. It is co-hosted by the Philippine Association of Marine Science, UP-Cebu, University of San Carlos, and UP-Mindanao.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the symposium comes at an opportune time as the world celebrates 2018 as the International Year of the Reef.

Cimatu said the APCRS event could “greatly contribute to better understand and appreciate science behind coral reef conservation.”

“More importantly, it can help us develop scientifically-grounded policies and programs that can address the challenges we are currently facing in terms of sustainably managing our coastal and marine resources,” he added.

According to Dr. Porfirio Aliño of the UP-MSI, the country’s hosting of the coral reef conference will highlight the importance of science and technology in conservation and good governance considering that the Philippines is the “center of the center of marine biodiversity” in the world and one of the leading scientific bastions in the Coral Triangle.

During the conference, the DENR—through Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez—will present its policies and initiatives on reef management in the Philippines.

One of the highlights of the presentation, she said, will be the DENR’s 12-year program on the seas called the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program.

“By effectively reducing the drivers and pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems which led to its continuous degradation, the coastal and marine ecosystems’ condition will improve thereby enhancing ecosystem functions and services,” Rodriguez said.

With the theme “Coral Reefs of the Asia-Pacific: Working Together Amidst Contemporary Challenges,” the APCRS hopes to forge greater cooperation and concrete programs for collaboration to preserve and sustainably manage our common natural marine heritage.

The conference will bring together the champions of coral reef research and conservation in the Asia-Pacific region with the hope of inspiring the younger generation to continue the work of understanding and using wisely these resources.

Latest research techniques and emerging trends in marine biodiversity, coral reef ecology, geology, and restoration, ocean processes, and citizen science efforts will also be featured in the five-day event.

Parallel sessions and workshops are organized by leading marine science institutions in the Philippines and abroad, as well as national and international conservation projects and programs. Speakers include conservation experts from Australia, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, and the United States. ###