The Nature Conservancy, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program and seven U.S. coral reef jurisdictions completed a $13.5 million, 10-year partnership to support the effective management and protection of coral reefs. In Micronesia, partnership efforts focus on site-based work in both Guam and CNMI while also fostering shared learning throughout the entire region.

Where We Work

Coral reef health and resilience is paramount in Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. These five jurisdictions cover 6.7 million square miles and encompass 2,000 islands inhabited by nearly 500,000 people speaking 12 languages. The area is also home to over 1,300 fish species and more than 480 coral species, with annual benefits valued at $800 million. In response to increasing pressures from climate-related impacts and locally induced human impacts, efforts to blend traditional conservation practices with modern methods are underway to protect these natural resources.

Our Approach

In Micronesia, coral reef conservation is advanced by providing technical and financial assistance to support the management efforts of local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and community partners. To amplify conservation momentum in the region, activities are conducted within the framework of the Micronesia Challenge, a commitment to conserve at least 30 percent of nearshore marine resources and 20 percent of terrestrial resources by 2020. Partnership efforts focus on site-based work in both Guam and CNMI while also fostering shared learning throughout the entire Micronesia region. Through implementation of learning exchanges and trainings, we aim to boost the effectiveness of protected areas, support strategic planning and conduct effectiveness assessments.

Our Accomplishments

Our work has directly benefited approximately 2,000 square miles of coral reef habitat. Partnership efforts have provided technical support to 37 organizations, brought together 29 organizations for learning exchanges and resulted in the training of staff from 25 organizations on reef resilience principles.

  • Developed 18 Conservation Action Plans (CAPs) to address threats to coral reefs with climate change impacts integrated into 10 plans. Some results of the CAPs include:
    • Establishment of marine conservation agreements on the island of Yap between 6 communities and the Yap Community Action Program to establish protected areas and form the Yap locally managed marine area network.
    • Development of management plans for 13 of the 15 existing marine protected areas in Palau to enable access from the Palau Protected Areas Network Office for financing of implementation activities.
  • Coordinated with governments, partners and working groups across Micronesia to develop and implement the following tools and structures to implement and measure the effectiveness of Micronesia Challenge efforts:
    • Developed the Marine Protected Areas Management Effectiveness (MPAME) tool to standardize evaluation of effectiveness of site management and document the accumulated impacts of protected sites. Results are being used to produce a scorecard which tracks the progress of the Micronesia Challenge. Eight sites have completed MPAME evaluations and the Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) has adopted the tool to evaluate all 13 of its sites.
    • Developed the Micronesia Finance and Administration-Operations Network (MFAN) to strengthen conservation organizations in the region by enhancing the management skills of Operations staff. Individuals from 16 organizations participated in a workshop to teach financial and administrative skills.
    • Coordinated and implemented learning exchanges to share successes and lessons learned between partners, foster better understanding of community-led marine stewardship and catalyze on the ground action.
    • Participants from Pohnpei and Yap visited Palau to learn about watershed partnerships, through which several terrestrial managed areas have been established, based on lessons learned from the Belau Watershed Alliance, a network of Palau communities engaged in watershed management. Yap participants rallied their eight villages to establish the Tamil Resources Conservation Trust, which has since developed a management plan and established a marine protected area (MPA).
    • Traditional and elected leaders from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) visited Palau to learn about protected areas management efforts. Palauan traditional and elected leaders then visited RMI to support the passage of the RMI Protected Areas legal framework to implement Micronesia Challenge goals.
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