Cook Islands Marine Sanctuary To Cover Entire Exclusive Economic Zone
Consultations find Marae Moana desired by all island groups
By Richard Moore
RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Nov. 14, 2016) – The Government has announced the proposed Marae Moana sanctuary will now span the entire 1.8 million square kilometres of our Exclusive Economic Zone.
Initially, the Marae Moana was to provide management to the southern half of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
But during three years of public consultations since the announcement of the Cook Islands Marine Park in 2012, it became clear that the northern group also wanted to be part of the Marae Moana.
Efforts to legally designate Marae Moana – the Cook Islands Marine Park - are progressing well with the policy framework completed and legislation, the Marae Moana Bill, being drafted.
The Marae Moana to date has been supported by a number of development partners including Oceans 5, IUCN, SPREP, and Conservation International.
In Marrakesh, Morocco, Prime Minister Henry Puna will be attending the 22nd UN conference on climate change at the invitation of the King of Morocco. While there, the prime minister will be attending and speaking at the public announcement of Conservation Equity, a global programme being co-ordinated by Conservation International.
Conservation International has confirmed that the Cook Islands Marae Moana will be the Pacific region’s flagship project in the Conservation Equity programme. The Conservation Equity programme focuses on partnering with local communities and indigenous peoples to work on long-term conservation and sustainable development. It is envisaged that community-led conservation is a core solution to the world’s climate and sustainable development challenges.
Joining the prime minister in Morocco will be the Kaumaiti Nui, Tou Ariki and the Marae Moana ambassador, Kevin Iro.
Led by the prime minister, more discussions will be had in Morocco between Cook Islands, Conservation International and a key financial benefactor on how the project will be implemented in the Cook Islands. It is anticipated that for the Cook Islands, the project will be a grant of between $7 million – $10 million.
The project will represent a “whole domain’’ management approach that supports sustainable economic growth, food security, livelihoods, cultural traditions and biodiversity conservation.
Puna said: “We are thankful and indebted to the work of Kevin Iro, our traditional leaders and most importantly our people who have entrusted us with managing this great resource.”
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