The International Conference on Status and Protection of Coral Reefs (STAPCOR – 2018) with the theme “Reef for Life” was inaugurated by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan on 22nd October at Bangaram coral Island of Union Territory of Lakshadweep. About 150 delegates both International and National, are participating in this mega event at Bangaram Island from 22nd to 24th October, 2018. The delegates and keynote speakers for technical deliberations have come from United State of America, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Italy, France, Maldives and Sri lanka. The conference will conclude on the 24th October, 2018.
In his inaugural address, the Minister highlighted the importance of coral reefs and the need for its protection, emphasising on converting science into adequate policies for conservation. Evolving effective management strategies leading to restoration of coral reef, along with the practice of green good deed for behavioural change and importance of coral reefs in day to day life was also emphasised. The Minister congratulated the Department of Environment & Forest for organising this mega event and also appreciated the efforts of the Lakshadweep Administration in making Lakshadweep Islands free from plastics.
Administrator, UTLA, Farooq Khan, in his presidential address thanked the union ministry for providing all encouragement and assistance to this smallest coral island of the country for the betterment and progress of the local community. Khan assured that the administration is making all efforts for conservation and preservation of coral reefs. He added that very soon Lakshadweep will establish an International Atoll Research Centre, with world class infrastructures for scientific research on corals. Mohammed Faisal, Member of Parliament in his special address appreciated the Union Government and the Lakshadweep administration for holding the international seminar on coral reefs in the enchanting Bangaram Island and need for protection of coral reefs for future generations.
Chief Wildlife Warden and Secretary, Environment &Forests, Lakshadweep Administration Damodhar A.T., welcomed the gathering and narrated the effect of climate change and global warming along with El Nino on the corals lead to heavy bleaching internationally during the year 1998, this lead to the foundation of STAPCOR with a decision to have a international conference in every 10 years to review the status and progress of coral reefs all over the world.
The Department of Environment and Forest, Union Territory of Lakshadweep Administration organised this mega conference with the technical support of Zoological Survey of India and in association with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, IUCN, ENVIS in consonance with declaration of the year 2018 as 3rd decadal International year of Reefs.