12 July 2012, Bucharest, Romania - The Micronesia Challenge was featured at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Wetlands in Romania.
An Oceania side event showcased the Challenge which was signed in 2006. It commits the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas and Palau to effectively conserve 30% near-shore marine resources and 20% terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
“Known more on a regional level than it is on a national level so it is a challenge to get the local communities to know more about the challenge,” said Pua Michael, the Ramsar National Focal Point of Palau.
“We need to do more work to promote the Micronesia Challenge within our own countries and communities.”
So successful has the awareness work been on a regional and international level that it has catalyzed efforts such as the Caribbean Challenge and the Coral Triangle. It has also drawn huge interest from donors and partners.
As part of this commitment each island nation is responsible for raising funds to help bring this challenge into fruition, known as the Micronesia Challenge Endowment Fund. FSM has since raised 2.2 million dollars, the Marshall Islands has raised 2.3 million dollars and Palau has raised 6.1 million dollars.
To date over USD 27 million has also been raised through different opportunities and partners such as the LifeWeb, The Packard Foundation, Global Environment Facility and the Nature Conservation and Conservation International.
|Ms. Pua Micheal, presenting on the Micronesia Challenge|
“While awareness of the Micronesia Challenge may not be so strong in Palau, communities do understand the importance of nature conservation, it’s our way of life in Palau. We’re already working to save our wetlands and terrestrial areas at the national level - this has been ingrained into us as part of the Palauan culture.”
Palau has a Protected Area Network which was put into place before the Micronesia Challenge this is a number of Protected Areas throughout Palau which are eligible for funds under the Green Fee if there is a management plan in place. These Protected Areas are managed by the local community of Palau and the efforts will go towards achieving Palau’s commitment to the Micronesia Challenge.
The next steps will see Palau carry out their marine monitoring protocol which measures how effective the Marine Protected areas are managed. Preparations are still underway to finalise the Terrestrial monitoring protocol in Palau.
Palau is a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands along with Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. The 11th Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is held in Romania, 6 – 13 July.