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. 


The Chuuk Conservation Society is seeking an executive director.  Click here for PDF of announcement.

Volume 42 of the Official MC Newsletter

Click here for the all the latest news.

05.01.2015: GLISPA Impact Dashboard

For the past decade, GLISPA has emerged as a successful and impactful partnership of all islands and their supporters working together toward a common vision.  

In 2015, we have taken great strides in improving our ability to demonstrate the collective impact and success of our Partnership through the launch of the GLISPA Impact Dashboard: http://impact.glispa.org.  This Dashboard helps us to track progress toward our long-term strategic goals and priorities.

The Impact Dashboard has been developed in partnership with a world-leading company, Socrata, who are dedicated to supporting governmentsunleash the power of open data to support decision-making, transparency and demonstrate impact. http://www.socrata.com/

Congratulations to Hawaii Green Growth on the launch of the pilot of their own Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard (https://dashboard.hawaii.gov/aloha-challenge) in early April to support decision makers and the public to track progress on achieving the Aloha+ Challenge 2030 targets. The Micronesia Challenge, building on their extensive efforts in monitoring effective implementation of the targets on marine, terrestrial and socio-economic indicators, are now also working with Socrata to develop their own Dashboard.

The work with both the Aloha+ and Micronesia Challenges in developing their respective Dashboards will help us to develop a common approach to demonstrating progress and implementation of the island commitments launched through GLISPA. Importantly these efforts build the foundations to demonstrate the impact of island leadership and action towards national, regional and global priorities.

We invite you to explore our GLISPA Impact Dashboard. Please provide feedback to Jessica Robbins, Global Island Partnership and PCI Media Impact at JRobbins@mediaimpact.org

04.30.2015: Welcome!

Please join us in welcoming Berna Gorong and Graham Gaines to the TNC Micronesia Program! Berna joins us as the new Partnership and Communications Coordinator and Graham will serve as the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator for the BMUB Micronesia-Melanesia Project. 

Berna established and has been running a small NGO called the Yap Networker that provides education and awareness on community, youth, and women issues in Yap, including a biweekly newsletter called the Yap Networker.  She has also been working with her husband Thomas Gorong and their community on efforts to manage the Nimpal Channel Conservation Area.   Since 2011, Berna has been a consultant with PIMPAC as a mentor on climate adaptation.  In her role as PCC, Berna will be responsible for developing and managing partnerships, and providing capacity-building support to our key partners implementing conservation in Micronesia.  She will also serve as the focal point for communications, sharing our work with partners and communicating conservation work happening in Micronesia within the Conservancy and to a wider audience.

Graham recently completed a one year volunteer program with the Peace Corps Response Program.  He was placed in the Marine Resource Management Division, Yap State Government, where he helped develop staff capacity to improve resource surveying, monitoring and reporting.  Previously, Graham spent two years in Fiji, as a Peace Corps Volunteer working as an Environment Resource Manager.  In addition, Graham spent time as a  fisheries observer with the US National Marine Fisheries Service.  Graham holds a Master’s Degree in Marine Resource Management from the University of Akureyri, Iceland.  His master’s dissertation was on conflict management in Icelandic fisheries through policy analyses and marine spatial planning.  He will help to develop the overall framework for project Monitoring and Evaluation, to include annual project reviews, participatory impact assessments, guiding the process for identifying and designing the key indicators for each work package within the BMUB project, recording and reporting physical progress against overall project deliverables, and setting out the framework and procedures with stakeholders for the evaluation of project activities.

04.22.2015 Adaptation Fund Board Approves MCT Support

On April 10th the Adaptation Fund Board took the decision to approve the Streamlined Accreditation Process and with it the accreditation of Micronesia Conservation Trust’s national implementing entity (NIE) application. MCT is now eligible to apply for projects up to US$1M to support climate adaptation work in the Federated States of Micronesia.

MCT is the first entity accredited under this new process and therefore establishes this gateway for other small entities. MCT hopes that this accreditation and experience will allow MCT to get accreditation from other multilateral donor organizations such as the Global Green Climate Fund. 

To learn more about the Adaptation Fund you can visit their website https://www.adaptation-fund.org/