:: INSIDE THE CHALLENGE
TNC hands over $1M in Palau and fulfills a Commitment to the Micronesia Challenge.
PALAU – On December 15, 2011, more than 75 dignitaries and
conservationists celebrated a milestone in sustainable financing for the
Micronesia Challenge. A ceremony held at the Palau Royal Resort
celebrated the completion of Palau’s formal funding commitments with The
Nature Conservancy entered into in 2006, at the launch of the
Russell Leiman, Asia-Pacific Managing Director for The Nature
Conservancy, praised work of partners, “We’re so inspired by the
leadership of Palau’s conservation community, which is building the
practical framework for lasting investments in conservation that
recognize the critical connection between a sustainable environment and a
PHOTO: December 15, 2011. TNC's Russell Leiman hands over $1 million to Palau President Johnson Toribiong as MCT Chair Lee Webber looks on.
recognition of this groundbreaking initiative, The Nature Conservancy
originally pledged $3 million toward an endowment to sustainably finance
the Challenge. Conservation International pledged an additional $3
million, and in 2010 the Global Environment Facility approved a $6
million regional grant to help meet funding requirements. As part of
these agreements, Micronesia Challenge member states Palau, FSM, and RMI
committed to matching pledged funds 2:1, making substantial progress to
establish protected areas networks guided by standards set forth in the
United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), and
developing local income generating mechanisms to fund continuing
conservation activities under the Micronesia Challenge.
Palau has shown great leadership in fulfilling the ambitious goals set
out in the Micronesia Challenge. To date, Palau has raised $4 million in
matching funds, and has six sites now officially in the nationwide
Protected Areas Network (PAN): Ebiil, Ngarchelong; Olsolkesol, Ngiwal;
Ongedechuul SCA, Ngardmau; Ngardok Nature Reserve, Melekeok; Mesekelat,
Ngchesar; Helen Reef; with 4 areas recently accepted: Medal Ngediull,
Airai; Ngerderar Watershed Conservation Area, Aimeliik; Kerradel
Network, Ngaraard; Ngelukes, Ngchesar; Ongedechuul Conservation Area
Palau’s innovative Green Fee, established by
legislation in 2009 provides a model for sustainable conservation
funding. Fees collected from departing visitors continue to provide
robust support for the maintenance of the PAN so important to Palau’s
natural environment and tourism industry. Further demonstrating its
leadership, in 2009, Palau established the first-ever shark sanctuary to
protect sharks in the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),
encompassing a 240,000 square mile area.
The Micronesia Challenge
ceremony showcased the formal handover of The Nature Conservancy’s
remaining funding commitment. Leiman provided the $1 million check to
His Excellency President Johnson Toribiong and Micronesia Conservation
Trust Chair Lee Webber. It has been deposited along with Palau's
remaining $1.4 million match into Palau's endowment subaccount. The
Micronesia Challenge Regional Office and Palau Conservation Society
assisted The Nature Conservancy in hosting the event.
THIS STORY IS AN EXCERPT FROM VOLUME 2 (JANUARY 2012) OF THE MICRONESIA CHALLENGE NEWSLETTER. READ THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER BY CLICKING HERE.