Micronesia Roundtable 1
17 October 2011 - Chicago, USA
We are pleased to announce that the CBD LifeWeb Initiative will be supporting a donor roundtable meeting along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Rare on marine protection strategies, with a particular emphasis on Micronesia. The meeting will be held at MacArthur headquarters in Chicago on October 17th with private donors such as the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Packard Foundation, and Waitt Foundation expected to attend. Mr. Willy Kostka, Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust, will be present to provide first hand experience with sustainable and long-term funding for island-based biodiversity conservation.
The objective of this meeting is to convene a group of prospective donors and project implementers in order to seek their technical and strategic input for securing sustainable and long-term funding for the Micronesia Challenge. The meeting will begin with an overview of the global threat of near-shore overfishing to marine conservation. Each donor representative will have the opportunity to present their role in addressing this threat and identify opportunities for alignment and collaboration. The afternoon session will be focused on one regional priority for marine conservation in Micronesia.
Micronesia has some of the most significant biodiversity in the world. The region includes 66 threatened species, more than 1,300 species of reef fish, 85 species of birds and 1,400 species of plants — 200 of which are found only in Micronesia. Moreover, the region boasts nearly 61% of the world’s coral species in its waters. Positioned directly between the Coral Triangle and the broader pacific, Micronesia acts as a biological crossroads, and for Rare could become the bridge through which our growing marine experience is adapted for application to the world’s myriad small island nations. For centuries, the people of Micronesia have depended on this rich biodiversity for their wellbeing. This once sustainable relationship is ever more important, yet under ever more stress.
Micronesia’s globally significant near shore marine biodiversity, and the Micronesian people’s ability to sustainably manage and benefit from it, is seriously threatened by illegal / over-fishing and by sedimentation caused by poor land use practices - and increasingly by the cumulative and growing effects of climate change. For centuries, the remoteness and relative isolation of this region has reduced human pressure and preserved many habitats and species in the region that have long since gone extinct or been degraded in other parts of the world. However, this isolation is now contributing to the region’s vulnerability as small islands’ ecosystems are ill-equipped to handle growing human populations and encroaching development. Moreover, the region is on the front lines in dealing with the effects of climate change as the effects of rising seas, warming temperatures, and unpredictable weather events are exacerbated by degraded ecosystems.
On the positive side, Micronesia has a legacy of conservation to draw upon. Concepts such as MPAs, protected areas, no take zones, and “ridge to reef” stewardship were pioneered on Micronesia many hundreds of years ago and these traditional natural resource governance practices offer valuable lessons for modern day conservationists – lessons that are being updated and carried forwards in a number of successful recent community-level protection projects including places like Enipein watershed/MPA on Pohnpei and Talakhaya Bay on CNMI among which we have found successful, scalable community-level solutions. The region also has strong enabling political momentum in the Micronesia Challenge, through which the region’s leaders have publicly committed and are holding themselves accountable to protecting 20% of terrestrial and 30% of near shore marine waters by 2015 under their commitments to the CBD’s Program of work on Protected Areas.