Known for its beautiful and highly diverse coral reefs found nowhere else on earth, Wakatobi is Southeast Sulawesi`s abiding stake in the world`s coral triangle.
The area is made up of a cluster of islands, namely Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko which the local people have abbreviated into the name of Wakatobi.
In an effort to boost preservation of coral reefs in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi, the Indonesian government is currently preparing the opening of a Coral Reefs Conservation School there.
Wakatobi is an area with 25 clusters of coral reefs with wider range of species and various natural resources potential for billions of people.
Therefore the Indonesian government will allocated US$5 million in funds for sustainable preservation and management of coral reefs in Wakatobi.
"The government of Indonesian through President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono provides five million dollars for sustainable preservation and management of coral reefs in six countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI)," CTI spokesman Imran said in Wakatobi recently.
Speaking at a meeting of the Association of District Administrations (APKASI) Imran said there were two reasons Indonesia wanted to play a major role in preserving coral reefs in the six CTI member countries.
He said the first was that Indonesia has wider coral reefs than those of the other five other countries and was prepared to turn 20 million hectares of mining areas into national marine parks.
And the second, Indonesian waters have the most diversity of coral reefs namely 70 species of the world`s 850 species.
"The Caribbean sea has only 50 coral reefs and the Red Sea only 300," Imran said.
According to him, coral reefs in Wakatobi must be protected from damage to make them remain sustainable for a certain period of time.
"The management and utilization of natural resources in Wakatobi waters at the center of world coral triangle should consider the principles of sustainable use," Imran said.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to inaugurate the school, the first of its kind in ASEAN and even in the world, in conjunction with the opening of an international marine event of Sail Wakatobi-Belitung 2011 later in June this year.
The school would be inline with the local government grand strategy to create Wakatobi as marine Center of Excellence for the marine and tourism sector inside the world`s coral triangle center.
Wakatobi`s existence was known worldwide after around a thousand scientists had done research in the area.