10.05.2015: Tony DeBrum Given 2015 Right Livelihood Honorary Award

A Pacific island state foreign minister who has challenged the world’s nuclear powers through unprecedented legal action; an indigenous leader who fights to protect the Arctic in the face of climate change; a Ugandan human rights activist working against the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities in Africa; and an Italian doctor who has saved countless lives in war-torn countries are this year’s Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’.

The 2015 Right Livelihood Honorary Award goes to

TONY DE BRUM and THE PEOPLE OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS "in recognition of their vision and courage to take legal action against the nuclear powers for failing to honour their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Three Laureates will share the cash award of SEK 3 million (ca. EUR 320 000):

The jury recognizes 
SHEILA WATT-CLOUTIER (Canada) "for her lifelong work to protect the Inuit of the Arctic and defend their right to maintain their livelihoods and culture, which are acutely threatened by climate change."

The Jury awards 
KASHA JACQUELINE NABAGESERA (Uganda) "for her courage and persistence, despite violence and intimidation, in working for the right of LGBTI people to a life free from prejudice and persecution."

The Jury recognizes 
GINO STRADA, co-founder of EMERGENCY, (Italy) "for his great humanity and skill in providing outstanding medical and surgical services to the victims of conflict and injustice, while fearlessly addressing the causes of war." 

The Awards will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on 30 November 2015, hosted by the Society for the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish Parliament.

09.14.2015. MARSHALL ISLANDS. Congratulations to Tony DeBrum!

Senator De Brum, today Foreign Secretary of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, spent the better part of his professional life fighting for clean-up and damages for radiation victims in the Marshall Islands, focusing on the cause as much as on the effects. For many years, banning all nuclear weapons and fighting global warming have been the focus of de Brum’s activity. He likes to use local earth and water colors when illustrating the effects of global warming on vast coastal an island regions. The islanders, who in the past had to abandon irradiated parts of their homelands, will soon have to leave low-lying parts threatened by the rising sea-level. The Marshall Islands are facing extinction. The population is expelled in two stages: first, they had to escape death by radiation, now they’ll have to escape death by drowning.

09.09.2015: The Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund Established.

In honor of Bill Raynor (February 22, 1957 – September 1, 2015), Director of The Nature Conservancy Pacific Division, and his 34 years of conservation work in the region, the Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund he helped establish to support emerging leaders in the region, has been renamed the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund. As a longtime resident of the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, Bill learned the Pohnpeian language and earned a Pohnpeian honorific title Soumadau en Peini Eng Eihr—the Lord of the Altar of the East Wind—for, among other deeds, growing giant yams and being considered a true Pohnpeian master agroforester. In 1992, he helped launch the Conservancy’s program in the FSM, focusing on innovative, community-led conservation and building partnerships. Bill lived life, including his end of life, on his terms—fully, with love, and with a commitment to others and to the world. 

Bill was deeply committed to building future conservation champions in the region throughout his life, and established this scholarship fund in February as another way to help achieve this. For more information, please contact Mr. Willy Kostka at director@ourmicronesia.org. You can also give directly to the fund, by visiting MCT’s website at http://www.ourmicronesia.org/ and clicking on the “Donate” button in the upper right corner.

09.07.2015: Pacific Exchange Emerging Professionals (PEEP) Program

The Pacific Exchange Emerging Professionals (PEEP) Program seeks to provide professional development opportunities for the next generation of conservation leaders. The Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance (HCA) recognizes that the global conservation effort has much to gain by enhancing dialogue between similar social, cultural, and/or political systems. Through peer learning and the exchange of information and experiences, PEEP participants will become part of a larger network of conservation professionals who share resource stewardship concerns, across a large, complex biocultural area between Hawai‘i, and the Micronesian, Melanesian, or Polynesian archipelagos. HCA will support up to two successful PEEP applicants towards an exchange experience, funds permitting.
Visit the PEEP webpage for more information. This is an amazing opportunity for current emerging professionals in the field of conservation to broaden their horizons and learn from experts from around the Pacific.
Applications due October 30th 2015.

08.30.2015 - September 2015 Newsletter

Click here for Volume 44 of the official MC Newsletter.

Excerpt: Ngarchelong and Kayangel States of Palau showed strong leadership and political will as both State Legislatures passed the landmark coastal fisheries management legislative framework.

Read rest of the article here

08.12.2015: POHNPEI. Willy Kostka Elected to PIOCS

Pohnpei – Willy Kostka, co-founder and Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust, has been elected as the new Federated States of Micronesia representative on the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) Governing Council. The Governing Council provides general oversight and policy guidance to the PacIOOS program. Council members also help to engage the broader stakeholder community, adopt implementing documents and strategic plans, and advise on major decisions for PacIOOS.

“Mr. Kostka brings a great deal of experience and expertise to our council. The Council members represent their respective organizations as well as other partners from their region by engaging with our diverse stakeholders. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Kostka to the Council and look forward to his contributions at our upcoming meeting in October,” says Melissa Iwamoto, PacIOOS Deputy Director.

Elected for 3-year terms, Council members work with PacIOOS staff through annual meetings and individual discussions to review region-wide needs from all stakeholders. 18 members form the Council, representing a variety of user groups and PacIOOS’ regions, including the FSM, Marshall Islands, Palau, Guam, CNMI, American Samoa, and Hawai‘i.

Mr. Kostka says, “In the Pacific, we are intimately connected to the ocean. I am honored to serve on the PacIOOS Council as a voice for our FSM community. The council will be a great platform to discuss ocean observing needs throughout the insular Pacific and to exchange ideas on how to better collaborate with local partners.”

Born and raised on the island of Pohnpei, Mr. Kostka has an extensive background in environmental conservation, sustainable development, and community engagement. Mr. Kostka served as a PEW Marine Fellow and has been actively involved in the development and implementation of the Micronesia Challenge ever since. As co-founder and Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust and the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Mr. Kostka supports biodiversity conservation and oversees conservation funds in the endowment. Mr. Kostka also serves on a variety of local community Boards.

About PacIOOS
The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) believes that ocean data and information can help save lives and resources. Collecting ocean data on the most recent conditions, forecasting future events, and developing new user-friendly tools help to ensure your safety, protect the environment, and support the economy. In collaboration with a large network of partners, PacIOOS provides valuable data to inform decision-making in Pacific communities. Based within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai‘i in Mānoa, PacIOOS is one of 11 regional associations that make up the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

On the Web
PacIOOS Organizational Structure and Governing Council:http://pacioos.org/about/structure.php
To learn more about PacIOOS: http://pacioos.org

07.26.2015: MARSHALL ISLANDS. RMI Sets Emission Reduction Target for 2025


The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) today became the first small island state to set a new emissions reduction target for 2025, andthe first developing country to adopt the simpler and more robust absolute economy-wide target that is usually expected of industrialized countries. 

RMI’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution – or ‘INDC’ – includes a commitment to reduce emissions by 32% below 2010 levels by 2025, and also includes an indicative target to further reduce emissions to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030.  This is in line with RMI’s longer-term vision to move towards net zero emissions by 2050, or earlier if possible. 

The preference for a 2025 target is consistent with calls by the US, Brazil and the world’s most vulnerable countries for shorter five-year commitments to avoid locking in insufficient ambition all the way to 2030, some 15 years away.  It will strengthen calls from a growing majority that all countries must come back to the table by 2020 to see if stronger action is possible, particularly as renewable energy and other low-carbon technology becomes cheaper and more efficient. 

As RMI once again mops up the damage after the latest in a series of climate disasters to hit the low-lying atoll nation, the new targets reaffirm RMI’s commitment to strong climate leadership in the Pacific region, as recognized by the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership adopted in the country when it hosted Pacific Island Leaders in September 2013.  RMI’s new target builds on those previous efforts, but are now based on the more rigorous data collected during the preparation of RMI’s greenhouse gas inventory for 2010, which is soon to be submitted to the UNFCCC in the country’s ‘Second National Communication’.

Speaking on the release of the INDC, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Christopher J. Loeak, said: 

“I am proud that, despite the climate disasters hitting our shores with increasing regularity, we remain committed to showing the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy.  We may be small, but we exemplify the new reality that going low carbon is in everyone’s interests.  It improves our economy, our security, our health and our prosperity, particularly in the Pacific and more broadly in the developing world.”

“With these ambitious targets, we are on track to nearly halve our emissions between 2010 and 2030, en route to becoming emissions-free by the middle of the century.  The science says this is what’s required globally.  We have now joined the United States, the European Union, Ethiopia and others in setting a long-term decarbonization strategy.  When added together in Paris, these strategies will stamp fossil fuels with an expiry date.”

“Having an absolute economy-wide target means no-one has to look into a crystal ball to understand what it means for how much CO2 goes into the atmosphere.  Unlike ‘below business-as-usual’ and ‘GDP intensity’ targets, our numbers don’t rely on unknown variables like size of population and future economic growth.  This is the simplest and most robust type of target that a country can adopt.  It says ‘we mean business’, and we’re not continuing with ‘business as usual’.”

Speaking from Paris, where he is preparing to attend an informal Ministerial meeting on the negotiations convened by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, RMI Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tony de Brum, added:

“Leadership requires vision.  Despite the costs of climate change spiraling out of control, we have once again shot for the upper end of what’s possible with our limited resources and international support.” 

“Since the 2008 oil price shock, the Marshall Islands has embarked on one the world’s most aggressive rollouts of renewables and energy efficiency measures.  This helped us to peak our emissions in 2009, just before Copenhagen.  But going forward, we’ll need to go harder, upscaling not only on solar, but also biofuels and wind, as well as the potential use of transformational technology, such as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion.  If we can show OTEC to work in our waters, it could change the global energy landscape altogether, delivering clean, green power to big coastal cities all over the world.”

“With most of the big emitters’ targets now on the table, everyone knows we are falling well short.  This is not something that can be ignored, nor swept away by political expediency.  There can be no more excuses for delay or for low-balling ambition on the false premise that coal and other dirty fuels somehow increase prosperity.  Exactly the opposite is true.  Our message is simple: if one of the world’s smallest, poorest and most geographically isolated countries can do it, so can you.”

Media contact:

Thom Woodroofe
RMI Ministry of Foreign Affairs

From the July Newsletter

:: YAP
Effective Coastal Management & Locally Managed Area Design Toolkits Covered in Workshop Held June 2015

In mid-June, combined toolkit training was held in Yap. The toolkits introduced were:  
  • Tool 1: Designing Effective Locally Managed Areas (LMAs) in Tropical Marine Environments: Guidance to Help Sustain Community Benefits through Management for Fisheries, Ecosystems, and Climate Change; and,
  • Tool 2: Coastal Change in the Pacific Islands: A Facilitators Guide to Support Community Understanding and Decision Making on Coastal Erosion and Flooding Issues.
                                 Photo B. Gorong, TNC

    These tools are add-on components to the suite of community facilitation and awareness toolkits designed in Micronesia and the Coral Triangle.  They were deployed in Micronesia as part of capacity building efforts to support community outreach and planning.  Both tools are aimed at fostering community benefits and resilience through improved natural resource management and climate change adaptation.
    The training brought a team of off-island resource partners to Yap for an intensive week-long training.  The training was lead by the Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC) Regional Advisors and Mentors, with technical support from marine and coastal scientists. Communities who participated in the training included: Tamil Resources & Conservation Trust (Tamil municipality), Weloy municipality, Balebat Rull, Gachpar Gagil, Rumung, West Fanif, Reey MCA, Ngulu Atoll Resource Management, and Nimpal Channel MCA. On-island resource partners who participated included Yap Community Action Program and Marine Resources Management Division.

07.21.2015. Reef Resilience Toolkit.

We're excited to announce a new coral reef fisheries module!

This new addition to the Reef Resilience toolkit highlights the latest science and management strategies for coral reef fisheries around the globe, with emphasis on their importance, what makes a reef fishery resilient, and potential assessment methods and management tools available to resource managers.

This resource was created through generous funding from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust and in partnership with WildAid.