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HONOLULU (Pacific Islands Report, July 30) - The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), a private non-profit biodiversity Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) based in Pohnpei, has awarded its first round of grants for biodiversity conservation projects in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

In 2003, an anonymous donor provided $25,000 to MCT for re-granting to FSM organizations to conduct projects in areas designated in the FSM National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP).

The MCT Board of Directors has approved project applications submitted by the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Mwoakilloa Municipal Government (Pohnpei State) and the Utwe-Walung Marine Park in Kosrae.

The process began when MCT issued a call for proposals in December of 2003 and after an exhaustive application and review process, three finalists will receive funding for their projects.

$10,000 will go to the Conservation Society of Pohnpei for its project, "Design and implementation of a Biophysical, Socioeconomic, and Governance Monitoring Program for a Network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Pohnpei State-FSM."

The Mwoakilloa Municipal Government plans to use $7,935.00 to tag sea turtles, protect and rehabilitate turtle nesting sites and conduct community education and awareness programs as part of its approved project, "Community Based Sea Turtle Conservation Program."

The Utwe-Walung Marine Park in Kosrae will receive $6,150.00 for its "Communities Conserving Kosrae’s Biodiversity" project.

The Micronesia Conservation Trust, formally established in 2002, came about as the result of a lengthy and highly participatory process with its origins in the FSM National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. MCT evolved from a series of community and government meetings as a vehicle for distributing funds available for biodiversity and environmental conservation projects to groups which might not otherwise have access to them while improving local capacity to manage projects and project monies.

The goals of MCT are to: raise community awareness about biodiversity conservation and related environmental education programs; support the conservation of priority natural biodiversity resource areas; strengthen the ability of communities, community organizations, government agencies, conservation and development NGOs, and other appropriate organizations to conserve FSM’s biodiversity and sustainably manage its natural resources for the benefit of future generations; and support biodiversity conservation advocacy.

MCT has received further funding for re-granting from the United States Department of the Interior and has proposals pending for additional funds for a second Call for Proposals planned for September of this year.

July 30, 2004

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