Seascape-level conservation efforts in the Pacific have received a major boost with the signing of a cooperation arrangement between the Republic of Kiribati and the United States of America.
Kiribati President Anote Tong and US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signed a Cooperative Arrangement yesterday to help conserve the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) of Kiribati and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) of the US. The aim of the Cooperative Arrangement is to jointly coordinate and support research and conservation activities for the two protected areas, collectively known as the Phoenix Ocean Arc.
The Phoenix Ocean Arc comprises an area of almost 800,000 square kilometres and includes island, coastal, open ocean and deep sea habitats. The cooperative management arrangement may include activities such as scientific research, law enforcement, removal of shipwrecks, conservation of seabirds, and eradication of non-native species, such as rats, from the remote atolls.
IUCN Oceania Regional Office received a US State Department Federal Assistance Award through the US Embassy in Suva in May 2013 to facilitate three meetings between the management of PIPA and PRIMNM to strengthen engagement and establish a working relationship between the two marine protected areas. The meetings were held in Tarawa, Honolulu and Suva and the Cooperative Arrangement was the main output of this small grant.
It was appropriate that the Arrangement was signed at the sixth IUCN World Parks Congress, a landmark global forum on protected areas held every 10 years. Building on the theme “Parks, People, Planet: Inspiring Solutions”, the congress presents an opportunity to share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come.