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Timor Leste

In 2007, despite mounting civil unrest, Timor-Leste established its first National Park connecting a number of endangered bird areas and encompassing a large section of the Coral Triangle, an underwater zone believed to hold the greatest diversity of marine life on Earth. Emelyn Rude is a Young Explorer studying the balance between environmental conservation and economic development in a nation of newly restored independence.

One of the incredible resources available to the people of Com, and the majority of those living on Timor’s coasts for that matter, are the country’s spectacular coral reefs. Timor-Leste is situated right at the very south of the famed Coral Triangle, an underwater area with the highest marine biodiversity of anywhere on the planet.

Read more: Climate Change’s Impact on Timor’s Coral Reefs

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Tong says the rise in temperatures which will result from greenhouse gas emissions to date will already have a significant impact on the country (Source: Rafeal Avila Coya/Creative Commons)East Timor has offered a home to climate change refugees if rising sea levels make life on some Pacific Islands impossible.

Speaking to Radio Australia, President Anote Tong of Kiribati said while they were not in any immediate danger, preparations were underway in case the situation deteriorated in the decades to come.

“We are considering all possibilities and we’re not discounting the possibility that in time we will not only relocate within the country but it will be necessary to, I think, relocate in a country outside our border. It will become an option, as a last resort,” he said.

Read more: East Timor could become home to Kiribati’s climate refugees

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Human activities are putting at risk more than 85 per cent of reefs in the Coral Triangle region north of Australia, a study has found.

Reefs in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Solomon Islands are under extreme pressure from overfishing, pollution, coastal development and climate change, a report released at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns says.

Read more: Most Coral Triangle reefs 'under threat'

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