Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the Australian aid money will mainly support programs in coastal communities in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“This region is the Amazon of the Seas and we recognise how important it is that concerted regional action is taken to secure the health of the ocean environments,” he said.
“It’s about food security. It’s about the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people in this region. It’s also about recognising how critical the health of the ocean environment is.
“We want to see some support go in the first instance to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“We want to provide the opportunity for additional information learnings, for communities that will be doing this work, and we want to see strategies in place which will really start to deliver the on-ground actions which are necessary to protect the coral triangle itself.”
Conservationists have backed the plan, with WWF director general Jim Leape saying the regional agreement is a landmark event.
“What comes out of this commitment is a plan of action which allows, mandates, the ministers, ministries in each of these countries to work together to begin to conserve the tuna stocks that are so important here,” he said.
“Also to begin to save the endangered sea turtles that live here, to begin to better manage the coastal ecosystems on which so many of their people depend.”