10 NOV 2014: Micronesia Conservation Trust Announces RFPs

Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) has announced two new Requests for Proposal:
  1. A redesign of the MCT Website (click here for the full RFP) due 21 November 2014.
  2. The development of an FSM PAN Law, Framework and Country Program Strategy (click here for the full RFP) due 21 November 2014.  

9 Nov 2014: Congratulations to H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of Palau , on his selection as a 2014 Champion of the Earth Laureate by the United Nations Environment Programme

H.E. Tommy Remengesau, Jr. President of Palau for strengthening the economic and environmental resilience of Palau by spearheading national policies to protect biodiversity. Read full story here: http://www.unep.org/champions/#winnners

29 OCT 2014: MCT and APIC Execute Formal Partnership in Tokyo

On Saturday, October 18th, Mr. William Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), visited Tokyo to execute a formal partnership with Japan’s Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC). Attending the signing ceremony where Ambassador Peter Sato, President of APIC, Ambassador Shoji Sato, Executive Director of APIC, Mr. Junya Nakano, Director of Climate Change Division, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Megumi Araki, Director of APIC, Ms. Ikuko Matsumoto of the Asian Development Bank, and Ms. Kana Nagayama, also of APIC.
Photo: MCT
The signing ceremony comes on the heels of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Convention of the Parties (CBD-COP12) recently held in Pyeonchang, South Korea, where APIC and MCT, represented by Mr. Kostka, had featured prominently for co-hosting several high-level events with the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), as well as with Governments and international organizations who support islands and sustainable development in islands. In July of 2014, MCT received a $10,000 grant from APIC to print the Micronesia Challenge Business Plan/Sustainable Finance Plan and to help promote the Micronesia Challenge at major regional and international events. This support has allowed MCT to feature the Micronesia Challenge at the Pacific Islands Forum in Palau, UN Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa and at the UN CBD-COP in South Korea. Also contributing to the development of the booklets and the Micronesia Challenge Initiative (www.micronesiachallenge.org) are the Australian Government, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, United Nations Environment Programme, US Federal Agencies, US Private Foundations, the German Government and several other donors and technical partners. The Micronesia Challenge Initiative is a commitment by the Governments of Palau, FSM, Marshall Islands, Guam and CNMI to put under effective conservation 30% of Micronesia’s nearshore marine resources and 20% of its terrestrial resources by 2020. The parties to the Micronesia Challenge also aim to raise an endowment of $56M, of which $18M has been secured and is currently being managed by the Micronesia Conservation Trust.
This MoU between APIC and MCT establishes a working relationship which describes the two organizations’ desire and willingness to work together to secure financial and technical resources in Japan  to support improved resources management and sustainable development efforts, inter alia, in the field of environment conservation, within the jurisdictions of Micronesia.  This entails Partners’ communicating, and leveraging overlapping resources with roles and responsibilities of each organization, with the overarching goal to achieve specific environmental conservation and sustainable development outcomes.
“Japan and Micronesia have always had a special relationship, which have produced some tangible outcomes in our region”, said Mr. Kostka. “This newly established partnership between APIC and MCT will ensure that this rich and consequential relationship continues”. Some of APIC’s other contributions to Micronesia include the establishment of a scholarship program which supports the costs of a Xavier High School graduate to Sophia University in Japan.
Peter Y. Sato, president of APIC, emphasized the conclusion of the MoU as a meaningful step forward in enhancing the collaboration between Japan and Micronesia in coping with many issues of the global warming agenda.  “Japan as an island country surrounded by the ocean has long been committed to preserve natural resources to sustain her quality of life. To us, Japanese, fisheries in Micronesia contributes a great deal to our fishing industry.  In these respects, we fully share the significance of the Micronesia Challenge, which is so universally supported by many people and nations in the world.  It is in our great interest indeed to support MCT and Micronesia's leaders in ensuring that these resources are sustainably used and managed for the benefit of the people of Micronesia and Japan.", he remarked.  He also referred to the progress also being made in education as the first Xavier student had started her study under the Ushiba Scholarship program at Sophia University this autumn.

29 OCT 2014: Must Watch!

Click here to watch video!

28 OCT 2014: POHNPEI. Officials attend airport ceremony unveiling new welcome sign which celebrates state shark protection

POHNPEI.  On October 20, 2014, Pohnpei Governor John Ehsa, Chief of Staff Falcam on behalf of FSM President Emanuel Mori, and other state leaders attended a ceremony at Pohnpei International Airport unveiling a new welcome sign which celebrates the state’s shark protections.  With the passage of Chuuk’s law in May, all four states now fully protect sharks in their waters.  A draft bill is currently being reviewed by the FSM National Government which would create a shark sanctuary in FSM’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Photo: TNC
In 2011 at the Micronesia Chief Executive Summit, the Presidents and Governors of Micronesia, committed to create the Micronesia Shark Sanctuary.  The administration and its NGO and private partners have been working with members of the FSM National Congress to have this draft legislation passed to fulfill its regional commitment and to secure the nations ocean resources for future generations. 

“We are immensely proud of our shark protections here in Pohnpei State and this new sign will share with visitors and citizens alike that Pohnpei is committed to passing on our natural resources to our next generations,” said Governor Ehsa.  “We look forward to the day when sharks are protected throughout FSM’s EEZ.”

The sign features an iconic Pohnpei image—Sokehs Rock—as well as images of sharks found in our waters.  It reads, “Welcome to Pohnpei where sharks are protected.”

The unveiling comes on the heels of a recent resolution by Pohnpei’s traditional leaders who called on the Congress to pass legislation for the creation of a shark sanctuary in FSM’s national waters.  More than 8,000 Micronesian students have signed a petition in support of an FSM shark sanctuary.  The signers come from all four states of FSM, Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Guam.

“I’m delighted to see Pohnpei taking the lead in this effort,” said Willy Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust.  “Sharks are critical to the health of our oceans, and when FSM passes our national shark sanctuary we will have joined Palau, Guam, CNMI, and Marshall Islands to create the largest shark sanctuary in the world.”

Approximately 100 million sharks are killed each year and the latest science finds that nearly 30% of known shark species fully assessed by scientists are threatened with extinction.  Sharks are currently unprotected in FSM’s EEZ with the exception of oceanic whitetip sharks and silky sharks, which are protected by regional agreements under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

09.27.2014 REGIONAL: Leaders Make Visionary Commitments To Island Sustainability and Resilience

Apia, Samoa (3 September 2014) – Islands countries and countries with islands have made bold commitments to build resilient and sustainable island communities through innovative partnerships during a high level event in Apia, Samoa.
The event was hosted by H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of Palau as Co-Chair of Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) alongside Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Hon. Jean-Paul Adam and Grenada’s Minister of State for Information, Communication and Technology, The Honorable Alvin Dabreo during the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (UNSIDS). 

“What do all of these leaders have in common? They all have a history of active and progressive support for moving our islands’ sustainability agenda forward and in focusing our efforts on preserving our marine environment,” stated President Remengesau who opened the event. 

The participating leaders committed to: 

Palau, H.E. President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr.  Palau has committed to advancing protection of oceans by announcing the Palau National Marine Sanctuary. This Sanctuary will establish a no-take that covers more than 80% of the Palau Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) including a highly regulated Fishing Zone that covers approximately 20% of the EEZ and a complete prohibition on purse seine fishing that covers 100% of the EEZ. In addition, Palau will establish a prohibition on fish exports and create a reformed modern domestic commercial long-line fishing fleet with observer oversight on 100% of its vessels.

08.21.2014: POHNPEI The Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation gives $10,000 for Micronesia Challenge

Photo MCT
On August 21, 2014, Kolonia, Pohnpei, Mr. Megumi Araki, the Director of the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC), presented Mr. Willy Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), a check for $10,000.  The Honorable Shoji Sato, former Ambassador to the FSM from Japan and his colleagues, Prof. Takashi Hayashita, President of Sophia University, Prof. Hiroshi Yamamoto, President of Sophia Junior College and Mr. Yoshihiko Miwa, Director of General Affairs Bureau of Sophia University witnessed the handover. The APIC funds are aimed at a Micronesia Challenge and Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) project, “Enhance the awareness of the Micronesia Challenge among the donors, thereby increasing financial and technical support.”  Specifically, the funds will support the printing of 600 booklets entitled, “We are One: Business Plan and Conservation Campaign – Micronesia Challenge.”  The grant will also fund distribution of the booklets at high level events during the UN Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa in September and at the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties in South Korea in October.  To raise the awareness of the Challenge, MCT and members of the Micronesia Challenge (MC) Steering Committee and the Regional Coordinating Office will distribute booklets to heads of states, ministers, donors, and technical/development partners who can potentially support the Micronesia Challenge.  The ultimate goal of the project is to garner increased awareness of and leverage additional support for the Micronesia Challenge, globally.

The Micronesia Challenge is a commitment made by the leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), U.S. Territory of Guam and U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. For more information about the Micronesia Challenge, please visit www.micronesiachallenge.org.

08.13.14 PALAU: PAN Conservation Officers Training Begins

On Monday, August 11, 2014 Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) hosted a brief opening ceremony of the Palau Protected Network (PAN) Conservation Officer Training at the PICRC Kedarm Conference Room. The ceremony was opened by the PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, followed by special remarks by the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Honorable Umiich Sengebau, Dr. Patrick U. Tellei, President of Palau Community College (PCC) and His Excellency Kazuhiro Tajiri, Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan and closed by Director Matsui Nobuaki of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Palau Office.  Over thirty participants attended the ceremony included Governors, Browny Salvador from Ngarchelong, Renguul Masahiro from Ngardmau, Tmewang Rengulbai from Airai and Maria Gates from Angaur State. Koror State Director Jose Ise, Administrative Officer Ernest Ongidobel, PAN Coordinators and conservation officers from the states of Koror, Ngardmau, Angaur, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Airai, and Kayangel and the staff of PICRC, PAN Office, PAN Fund and Japan Embassy were also present at the ceremony.
Front Row (PICRC CEO Dr. Golbuu, Director Ise and CAO Mr. Ongidobel of Koror State, Director Nobuaki of JICA Palau Officer, PCC President Dr. Tellei, Governor Rengulbai of Airai, Ambassor Tajiri of the Embassy of Japan, Governor Meltel of Angaur, Governor Salvador of Ngarchelong, Governor Masahiro of Ngardmau, and Minister Sengebau of MNRET posing at the staff of PICRC, Japan Embassy, PAN Fund, PAN Office, PAN Coordinators and Conservation Officers from several states.)
 After the ceremony, the PAN Conservation training began at the PICRC Student Lab. PICRC Researchers, Marine Gouezo, Lincoln Rehm and Shirley Koshiba together with the Head of Research and Aquarium Department Geraldine Rengiil are conducting the training to a selected number of PAN conservation officers. Lessons and field activities during the training includes proper ecological methods in monitoring of MPAs; identification of corals, fish, invertebrates, seagrass; and managing and conserving our marine resources.

The purpose of the training is to help provide support in areas that conservation officers need and to be certified in managing their state Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Collaborating with PCC and PANO to conduct the training with the technical assistance of JICA and Palau Coral Reef Island Ecosystem (P-CoRIE) fulfill PICRC’s mission in supporting conservation and management for the perpetuation of marine and associated environments through research and education that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world.