Tuesday, 2 November 2010 11:34 AM

West Indian Ocean Partnership: Learning from the Micronesia Challenge

25 October Nagoya Japan - Nations comprising of the Western Indian Ocean are inspired by the small island countries' Micronesian Challenge initiative which seeks to effectively conserve 30 percent of near shores resources and 20 percent of terrestrial resources by 2020.

Signed by the leaders of the Marianas, Guam, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia Challenge seeks to Effectively Conserve 30% of Near Shore Resources and 20% of Terrestrial Resources by 2020.

Micronesia Challenge was first launched by 2006 by Palau which was immediately supported by the other nations and that the movement has served as an inspiration for Caribbean countries to launch a similar challenge.

Seychelles' Permanent Representative to the United Nations HE Ambassador Ronald Jumeau during a side event says that the Micronesia Challenge is an initiative that served as an inspiration that the nations are adopting.

He states that the Western Indian Ocean nations are taking lessons from the Micronesian countries as to - "where we ought to go."

In 2005 then Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. committed his nation to preserving 30 percent of their near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of their terrestrial resources by 2020.

The initiative was then launched in 2006 and supported by the rest of the Micronesia region that agreed to match the same commitment Palau made.

Joe Aitaro, Palau's Protected Areas Network coordinater was one of the speakers during the side event with representatives from the Western Indian Ocean countries in attendance.

'What they wanted to hear from us was the arrangement of the initiative and what the benefits are," Aitaro says.

He explains that one of the major points that need to be learned from the initiative is that it is a long term commitment. Aitaro says the effort has been successful due to the head of states commitment of seeing it through.

"The leaders might have changed but the commitment is still there," Aitaro notes.

He says that the current leaders in the Micronesian region are continually meeting to ensure its success.

Each of the five jurisdictions in the Micronesia has endorsed the Micronesia Conservation Trust as a regional finance tool to ensure that the Challenge remains sustainable.

The Micronesia Challenge represents more than 5 percent of the Pacific Ocean and 61 percent of the world's coral species. It includes 66 threatened species, more than 1,300 species of reef fish, 85 species of birds and 1,400 species of plants - 200 of which are found only in Micronesia.

The five jurisdictions are well on their way in achieving the commitments.

The side event "West Indian Ocean Partnership, making it happen" was coordinated by the Global Islands Partnership at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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