OPENING SESSION: On Friday, 15 May, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, opened the meeting as Chair and thanked other CTI members and support partners, including the Australian and the US Governments, the Asian Development Bank, the GEF, Conservation International, TNC, and WWF. He acknowledged the many efforts since the UN Conference of Sustainable Development in 1992 to protect and manage the oceans sustainably, but said that these efforts are insufficient. President Yudhoyono declared that he will: issue a Presidential Decree on the CTI; establish the Sulawesi MPA bordering East Timor; increase the total area of Indonesian MPAs from 13.5 to 20 million hectares by 2020; double the national budget for CTI Plan of Action activities; and pledge US$5 million toward CTI.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines, welcomed the CTI, emphasizing its common purpose to protect the environment. She described the Coral Triangle region as a hot spot of marine life, which requires protection. She said that in light of current climate change threats, it is time to reconsider our approach to environmental management to maintain our “sacred relationship with Mother Earth,