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NEWS RELEASE May 30, 2000


Thanks to generous funding from the MacArthur Foundation, endangered coral reefs in the Pacific may enjoy renewed life as a result of an innovative coral reef management and regeneration program.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently elected to support Counterpart International's Coral Gardens program, enabling the non-governmental organization (NGO) to expand its application of revolutionary technology developed by American marine biologist Austin Bowden-Kerby. Coral Gardens, winner of the prestigious 1999 Henry Award for reef conservation, has successfully restored reefs in Pacific waters into environmental treasures.

Dr. Bruce Beehler, Counterpart's vice president for environment and natural resources, announced that the US$ 165,000, three-year grant falls under the Foundation's Program on Global Security and Sustainability aimed at promoting healthy ecosystems worldwide, peace within and among countries, and responsible reproductive choices. "We are thrilled to be recognized by such a prestigious foundation," said Beehler, describing Coral Gardens as "an idea whose time has come."

Coral Gardens, already being implemented in several Pacific nations, focuses on rebuilding delicate coral reef ecosystems, reviving reef fisheries, and helping communities plan stewardship over marine resources. In addition, the program provides an enterprise component in certified artificially grown corals - allowing communities to earn sustainable livelihoods.

Counterpart will use the MacArthur funds to investigate the conditions under which a community-managed protected area strategy might be used to promote sustainable resource management. The results of the study will be used to design similar conservation and regeneration programs that can be applied in other countries.

Counterpart plans next to bring its innovative approaches to the Caribbean, with pilot projects proposed for St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbados. The development agency's newest affiliate, Counterpart Caribbean, will oversee these programs with the help of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat and the Global Environment Facility.

Founded in 1965 as the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, Counterpart International is a not-for-profit development agency committed to building civil societies and advancing human development throughout the world. Counterpart's "smart partnership" philosophy, through which it teams with strategic partners in the public, private, NGO and donor communities, 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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