Conservation International and CRISP Support First Samoan Marine Conservation Trust Fund
Apia, Samoa - Today funds will be handed over to Samoa's two largest marine protected areas (MPAs) on behalf of the Coral Reef Initiatives in the Pacific (CRISP) program, at a ceremony to be held at the Safata MPA District Centre.
Conservation International's (CI's) Executive Vice-President Dr. Claude Gascon will deliver a cheque for over ST 240,000 (approximately 67,000 Euros) for a trust fund endowment to be presented by Samoa's Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment Mr Faumuina Tiatia Liuga to the Chairs of the Aleipata and Safata MPAs Trust Fund.
Minister Liuga says, "The Government of Samoa supports these MPAs as a good example of local and national stewardship of our marine resources."
These two MPAs on Upolu Island have been operating well and managing their own earned income (mainly from tourism fees) in a trust fund since 2003. The CRISP support serves to recognize this achievement, and will contribute approximately 30% of the estimated funds needed for sustainable financing of these MPAs.
"The communities involved in the Aleipata and Safata MPAs are to be congratulated for the leadership they have shown," says Eric Clua, CRISP Program Manager. "We hope these funds encourage them to continue their great work and inspire other groups in Samoa and across the Pacific to follow their example."
Both MPAs are large, community-based, multiple-use areas governed by a number of villages (9 villages in the case of Safata, and 11 villages for Aleipata). They are managed in partnership with the Government of Samoa (Division of Environment and Conservation, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment), and CRISP and CI have been providing operational support since January 2005. The MPAs were designed and established under a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from 1999 to 2004.
Sue Miller Taei, CI's Marine Programs Manager in the Pacific says, "I believe this Samoan experience represents a significant step forward for sustainable financing of MPAs. It provides a model for other communities interested in protecting their natural resources and way of life for future generations."
MPAs protect marine biodiversity, fish stocks and tourism values, providing sustainable livelihoods into the future. Increasingly trust funds are being used to provide sustainable finance for establishing and managing protected areas.
Photos available upon request.
Sue Miller Taei
Conservation International, Apia, Samoa
Phone: + (685) 21593
CRISP Program Manager
SPC, Noumea, New Caledonia
Phone: + (687) 26 54 71
Indonesia-Pacific Region, Australia
Phone: + (61) 431 304834
Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. Founded in 1987, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents to help people find economic alternatives without harming their natural environments. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.
CRISP - he Coral Reefs Initiatives for the Pacific (CRISP) program is a Government of France regional initiative that includes inter alia support to marine protected areas in the Pacific Islands region. CI coordinates Component 1 (MPAs and Watersheds) of this program, with work being undertaken in 11 Pacific states (Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Palau, Wallis and Futuna, Solomon Islands). For more information visit www.crisponline.net.