08.13.13 MAJURO Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy give $500,000 Each to Micronesia Challenge

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands  (3 September, 2013) Today at the Pacific Islands  Forum, Conservation International (CI) completed their $1 million (USD) commitment to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) completed their $1 million (USD) commitment to the Federated States of Micronesia in support of  the Micronesia Challenge (MC) to strengthen protected area management in the region.

President Mori, Trina Leberer, President Loeak, and President Remengesau
 In 2006, at the launch of the MC, a commitment to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020,CI and TNC each pledged $3 million toward an endowment to support this ground-breaking initiative.

CI’s Gregory Stone Conservation International’s Executive Vice President, The Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans presented a cheque for $500,000 (USD) to H.E. Christopher Loeak, the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), at the MC side event. This follows earlier endowment contributions made in 2012 and completes CI’s pledge of $1 million to support the RMI Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund.

As the host of the Forum and the MC luncheon, President Loeak opened the event, stating: “This Pacific Islands Forum is a Micronesian Forum, and represents an important opportunity to highlight this important milestone for the Micronesia Challenge. We are grateful and humbled by the generosity and support of our key regional partners in the Micronesia Challenge. We are well on our way to realising our dream of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable Micronesia.”

Willy Kostka, Pres Mori, Greg Stone, Pres Loeak, and Pres Remengesau
Stone congratulated RMI on the progress made with the development of their protected
area network and the comprehensive guidance that has nurtured this effort through their ‘Reimaanlok Plan’.  “I would like to acknowledge the RMI’s UNESCO World Heritage site in Bikini Atoll, as testament to the tremendous resilience of the Marshallese culture and spirit to have this, once as nuclear testing ground, as a protected area.”

Today, TNC also presented a $500,000 (USD) cheque to H.E. Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) completing their commitment to the FSM’s MC Endowment Fund.   In his remarks, President Mori encouraged additional, ongoing support to the Challenge, including from future leaders in the region.

TNC’s Micronesia Program Director, Trina Leberer, thanked the Presidents for their ongoing leadership of the Micronesia Challenge, saying: “We are thrilled to be completing our $3 million pledge to the MC endowment, and we remain fully committed to assisting the jurisdictions to fully achieve their conservation and sustainable finance goals for this amazing initiative, so great in scope, yet being built tangibly, from the bottom-up by communities across Micronesia.
His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau closed the event with the following reflection: “The ocean does not separate us, but instead brings us together.” The MC was the first of its kind globally and has inspired similar large-scale regional initiatives across the globe, including the Caribbean Challenge, the Coral Triangle Initiative, and the newly launched Western Indian Ocean Coastal Challenge. Today’s side event at the Pacific Islands Forum was sponsored by CI, TNC and the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) and hosted by Presidents from RMI, Palau and the FSM.