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Press Release December 30, 1999

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 30, 1999) - One of the world's leading pioneers of coral reef restoration technology describes receiving the Henry Award for Partnerships in Coral Reef Conservation as "a dream come true."

Speaking about the world's most prestigious award for coral reef conservation, the Fiji-based marine biologist, Austin Bowden-Kerby, says Counterpart International's vision of restoring coral reefs, planting corals to enhance fish habitats and creating economic opportunities for islanders is finally coming to pass.

"We are honored to be recognized for our Coral Gardens program and remain committed to spearheading action aimed at protecting and preserving the natural environment," he said.

The award, accompanied by a cash prize of $25,000 (U.S.), recognized efforts by Counterpart and its affiliate FSP Fiji to empower island fishing communities to manage their reefs effectively. This recognition follows a major three-year grant from the New Zealand Government to embark on the regionalization of the Coral Gardens program.

"The timeliness of this award is impeccable," noted Counterpart's Chief Executive Officer Stan Hosie. "Not only has it come at the dawn of a new millennium, but it provides great stimulus as we seek to expand our activities beyond the island nation of Fiji," he said.

Hosie, a native of Australia who has spent the last 35 years developing programs to address the special needs and vulnerabilities of island nations, reports that Counterpart will work with its sister FSP affiliates in the South Pacific to expand Coral Gardens to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, and Samoa in the coming years.

He lauded Counterpart affiliates in Australia and the United Kingdom for their support of Coral Gardens, and praised America's NOAA Sea Grant Program and the Pacific Development and Conservation Trust of New Zealand for investing in the development of the low-tech coral restoration methodology.

Founded in 1965 as the Foundation for the Peoples of South Pacific (FSP), Counterpart International is a not-for-profit development agency committed to building civil societies and advancing human development throughout the world. For 35 years, Counterpart's "smart partnership" philosophy, through which it teams with strategic partners in the public, private and NGO sectors, has resulted in successful environmental, social and economic development programs in more than 60 nations.

For additional information, contact: Sylvia Linggi TEL: (202) 296-9676

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