In 2006, the leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islandsd committed to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
We now see many of these types of commitments globally but at the time it was made it was, and still is, globally significant as it was a high level political commitment made by heads of government, and directly addressed the frustration at the lack of engagement of political leaders in conservation related efforts across the region.
The Micronesia Challenge was inspired by a political commitment made by Fiji during the Mauritius International Meeting in 2005 and has since inspired and learnt from other similar initiatives including the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and Aloha+Challenge to name a few - all are connected through the Global Island Partnership.
Micronesia Challenge 2030
During the 24th Micronesia Island Forum in 2019, the Leaders recognized the success in the first 15 years of the Micronesia Challenge and endorsed the new Micronesia Challenge 2030 goals to effectively manage 50% of marine resources, including the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and 30% of terrestrial resources by 2030. The goal now also includes a larger voice for fisheries management, reducing invasive species, restoring habitats, increasing livelihood opportunities and reducing risks to communities from climate impact in Micronesia. We are looking forward to supporting our leaders to announce the Micronesia Challenge 2030 during the High Level Political Forum on the SDGs in 2021.
By the numbers:
- 6.7 million: area in square kilometers of the Pacific ocean. The Challenge represents more than 20% of the Pacific Island region and 5% of the largest ocean in the world.
- 66: number of species in Micronesia recorded on the IUCN Red List
- 1,300: species of fish living in the waters of Micronesia
- 483: species of corals (60% of all known corals)
- 1400: species of plants (200 endemic)
- 85: species of birds (50% endemic)
- 104: number of the 218 recognized Endemic Bird Areas confined entirely to islands around the world.
- $2 billion: annual net benefits to the Pacific from coral reefs
- $800 million: benefits annually distributed across Micronesia from coral reefs
- $12 million: initial funding goal for the Micronesia Challenge ($3 million committed thus far).
Micronesia Challenge 2020 Evaluation - To prepare for 2020, the MC Steering Committee initiated an evaluation of the Micronesia Challenge in December 2019. The evaluation provided a valuable opportunity to review and reflect on collective accomplishments, examine the challenges faced, capture lessons learned, and identify strategic opportunities for moving forward that build on existing strengths. The evaluation was designed to capture input from many stakeholders who have engaged in the MC on various levels.