Imlementation of Arafura Timor Seas Regional and National Programme (ATSEA)


Project background:

The ATSEA-2 project is the second phase of the GEF-financed, UNDP-supported ATSEA program, and is designed to enhance regional collaboration and coordination in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region. ATSEA-2 will specifically focus on supporting the implementation of the endorsed strategic action program (SAP), a 10-year vision for the Arafura-Timor Seas with the long-term objective “to promote sustainable development of the Arafura-Timor Seas region to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants through restoration, conservation and sustainable management of marine-coastal ecosystems”.

The GEF alternative establishes a regional governance mechanism that strengthens the enabling policies and capacities of institutions and individuals, including the integration of Papua New Guinea, resulting in a sustained transboundary response to over-exploited fisheries and increased pressures on the globally significant biodiversity in the ATS region, including the impacts of climate change. Integrated approaches are designed to incentivize local communities to more sustainably use coastal and marine resources, enhancing their own livelihoods while safeguarding the ecosystem goods and services that are the backbone of their socio-economic well-being.

The goal of the project is to sustain the flow of ecosystem goods and services from the Arafura and Timor Seas through a trans boundary governance strategy that is rooted in national development priorities and therefore enhance sustainable development of  ATS region to protect biodiversity and improve the quality of life of its inhabitants through conservation and sustainable management of marine-coastal ecosystems. Expected achievements include:

1.     New MPAs designated in Indonesia and Timor Leste covering 645,000 ha in area including approximately 220,000 ha in mangrove ecosystems with corresponding management

        plans preparation.

2.     Improved use of fish gear/techniques: In Aru, Indonesia, 50% of vessels within the shrimp and red snapper fisheries using improved gear and 25% of vessels applying improved

        gear to reduce turtle bycatch; In South Coast, Timor Leste, 50% of vessels in the mackerel fishery using improved gear/techniques; in South Fly, PNG, 25% of vessels using

        improved gear/techniques

3.     Up to 5 management plans and appropriate measures implemented for rebuilding or protecting fish stocks including alternative management approaches; up to 5 communities of

        fishers have adopted an ecosystem approach to fisheries management.

4.     Integrated coastal management plans and reforms to protect coastal zones in one site each in Indonesia and Timor Leste


Project activities being implemented focus on:

1.     Strengthen regional governance structures, enabling policies and capacities of institution and

2.     individuals in the participating countries

3.     Support the implementation of the priority action outlined in the ATS Strategic Action Program (SAP) and National Action Programs (NAPs)     

4.     Covers the 5-priority transboundary environmental problems identified by the TDA:             

·      Unsustainable fisheries and decline and loss of living coastal and marine resources.        

·      modification, degradation and loss of coastal and marine habitats.

·      marine and land-based pollution.                 

·      decline and loss of threatened and migratory species; and 

·      Impacts of climate change on the ATS          


Results achieved to date:

The implementation of ATSEA phase 2 Timor Leste National component is still in its earlier implementation phase. The project was launch with the inception workshop held at Plaza Hotel, Dili , Timor Leste on 16 December 2019.  The Workshop were attended by representatives from relevant Government of Timor Leste’s Ministries such as Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of State Administration and Secretary State for the Environment. Participated in the inception workshop were also representative from relevant local government departments such as department of agriculture and fisheries of the five-targeted municipalities that is Municipality of Manatuto, Lautem, Manufahi, Vequeque and Covalima.


Stakeholder partner organizations both national and international such Timor Verde, the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), Conservation International (CI), World Fish were also represented during the Workshop. A representative from the PEMSEA Resource Facility (PRF) was also present at the workshop and provided presentation and other technical support during the inception meeting. The key outcome of the inception workshop includes the following: 1) Facilitated common understanding about the project among the country and regional teams and other stakeholders. 2) Confirmed the Project framework including its vision, objectives, outcomes, management structure and results matrix. 3) Highlighted that partnership building is key to the project’s success and acknowledged the need to map what partners are doing and identify potential areas for collaboration.


Component 1. Regional, National and Local Governance for Large Marine Ecosystem Management

The objective of this component is to strengthen regional and national governance structures by establishing participatory mechanisms for facilitating implementation of priority actions under the SAP and NAPs (Outcome 1.1). It also designed to strengthen the institutional and human resource capacities towards integrated approaches in natural resource management (Outcome 1.2).


Component 2.  Improving LME Carrying Capacity to Sustain Provisioning, Regulating and Supporting Ecosystem Services

Under this component, actions in response to the priority environmental objectives identified in the ATS SAP and the Indonesia and Timor-Leste NAPs will be implemented. Under Outcome 2.1, the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) will be implemented at the LME level for shared stocks and in area-specific fisheries in Indonesia, specifically in Fisheries Management Area 718 (Arafura Sea), and including red snapper and mackerel fisheries in Timor-Leste.


Outcome 2.3 focuses on the biodiversity conservation elements of the SAP. In line with the biodiversity priorities outlined Timor-Leste NBSAPs, a national MPAs is planned to be designated under the project that is a new 90,000 ha MPA off the south coast of Timor-Leste. Management plans will be prepared for the MPAs, and financing aspects assessing the entire range of conservation finance options will be considered.


Under Outcome 2.4, Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) plans that integrate SAP/NAP priorities and biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation concerns will be developed for an estimated combined125 km of coastline in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Upon enactment of local decisions, the project will also support implementation of the ICM plans the Barique Posto Administrativo in the Município Manatuto, Timor-Leste. As part of the ICM process, the project will also support climate change adaptation in at-risk coastal villages in Barique. Specific adaptation measures envisaged through consultation made in the project preparation phase include preservation and rehabilitation of mangrove forests and other vegetation to strengthen climate-resilient ecosystems.



Project start date:

May 2018

Estimated end date:

December 2024

Focus area:

  • eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Timor-Leste

    Implementing partner:

    Min. Agriculture & Fisheries

    Full project information  

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • Global Environment Fund Truste
  • Amount contributed


    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2021 $323,829

    2020 $171,061

    2019 $16,082

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