Micronesia Challenge is a commitment by five governments – Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, US Territory of Guam and US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands — to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. In the same year, participating countries agreed to establish a regional endowment fund to be managed by the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) to provide sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation into perpetuity.
From Commitment to Action:
The Micronesia Challenge was signed by each of the five Micronesia Chief Executives in early 2006 and presented to the international community at a high level event at the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in March 2006 in Brazil. Since this commitment was made there has been significant progress:
- Governance and Implementing Bodies established including bi-annual reporting to the Micronesian Chief Executives' Summit (MCES)
- US$ 9 million of the US$ 18 million required to implement the first phase of the Micronesia Challenge commitment had been secured
- In October 2011, His Excellency Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau, signed a bill allocating US$ 1.4 million toward the Micronesia Challenge endowment, thereby fulfilling the conditions necessary to receive a $2M endowment contribution from The Nature Conservancy for Phase I of sustainably financing the Micronesia Challenge.
- Practical indicators for measuring progress and impact on the ground and in the water were developed
- MC Young Champions Intern Program has mentored more than 20 of the brightest and most enthusiastic conservationists in Micronesia to work on community projects from establishing neighborhood rain gardens using native plants to reduce sedimentation impacts in coastal marine ecosystems to development of a Shark Comic Activity Book
Impacts on the Ground:
- Strengthened/established 190 protected/managed areas over 683,310 hectares
- Federated State of Micronesia – completed an Atoll Vulnerability Assessment to assist communities in developing adaptation strategies to address climate change impacts
- Republic of the Marshall Islands – incorporated climate change adaptation strategies in "Reimaanlok: Looking to the Future" their national conservation area plan
- Republic of Palau – implemented its national sustainable finance mechanism ('Green Fees'), which has brought in $1.3 million for conservation since its inception in November 2009
- U.S Territory of Guam – signed an Executive Order directing government agencies to support conservation efforts supporting the MC
- U.S Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – developed strategy focusing on watershed management to address the deficiencies in the marine benthic environment (e.g. Laolao Bay project road and drainage improvements and revegetation funded by a $3M US stimulus grant)
The Challenge brings together more than 2,000 isolated islands, separated into five political jurisdictions, inhabited by nearly 500,000 people speaking 12 different languages — all working towards the same set of goals.