FSM Protected Areas Network Policy Framework passed by Congress

Micronesia Challenge
Palikir, Pohnpei- On 28 September 2018, the Congress of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), unanimously adopted the FSM Protected Area Network (PAN) Policy Framework. The FSM PAN Policy Framework achieves locally the following:
Formally, through national legislation, acknowledges and adopts Program of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA)
Creates a mechanism which allows the FSM to report back to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
It establishes criterion for sites to become part of the FSM PAN
Creates monitoring protocols for management effectiveness
Puts in place an application process for the drawdown of funds from the FSM MC Endowment
Establishes a technical committee that reviews PAN applicants for membership into the network and evaluates management plans and budgets of existing sites
Will legally create a process by which the FSM will report to the MC Measures Committee on the country’s advancement on the MC goals
Operationalize and executes the FSM’s commitment to the MC
Legally binds all PAN sites to their management plans

The newly passed policy further demonstrates the FSM’s commitment to the Island Biodiversity Program of Work which was adopted in 2006, at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) Conference of the Parties 8 (COP 8), in Curitiba, Brazil (decision VII/1).
The decision by the UNCBD COP8 created the Program of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss on islands, by 2010 and beyond. Moreover, securing the health of natural resources would contribute to the reduction of poverty and enhance sustainable growth of islands. The PoWPA has seven (7) primary goals:
1. Protect biodiversity
2. Ensure sustainable use of resources
3. Tackle pressures and threats to biodiversity
4. Maintain ecosystem services that supports human well-being
5. Ensure that traditional knowledge and practices are preserved
6. Guarantee equitable access and sharing of benefits from extracted genetic resources
7. Certify adequate resources to support biodiversity activities

The Micronesia countries and territories, in an unprecedented act, at the UNCBD COP 8, demonstrated their commitment, as a region, by pledging themselves to conserve 30% of their nearshore coastal marine resources and 20% of their terrestrial resource, by 2020. Through this process the Micronesia Challenge (MC) was birthed, and thus inspired multiple conservation challenges around the world: Coral Triangle Initiative, the Caribbean Challenge and the Western Indian Ocean Challenge.
The MC declaration effectively established a mechanism by which donors (private and public) could invest in island biodiversity conservation, with assurances that the Micronesian islands would designate areas of biological significate for effective conservation, protection and management. A financing mechanism was established – the Micronesia Challenge Endowment (MCE) – which would financially support biodiversity conservation activities across the MC sites, provided that each country created appropriate PAN legislation.
The idea behind the MC was to demonstrate, at scale, the commitments of islands to achieve the goals of PoWPA, but more importantly the goals of biodiversity conservation in general. It would also help islands raise much needed capital – placing their natural resource as collateral – collectively to implement natural resource management and conservation activities. The MC created an atmosphere of cooperation; furthermore, the MC would ensure effective coordination through the exchange of information, communication of results, and collectively help each other build their capacity – the premise in which the PoWPA was originally established.
The Republic of Palau (Palau) was the first of the Micronesia nations to not only create PAN legislation but created a mechanism to sustainably finance the Palau PAN. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) passed their PAN legislation in 2015 and is going through legal modification to suit its financial situation. The FSM had a more difficult process due to its legal structure – the FSM is a nation of four semi-autonomous states who have full control over their state resources. As such, each of the FSM island states had to create and adopt its own PAN law and the National Government would create a ‘Framework’ that federally recognized the states’ PAN legislation and unlock monies resting in the MC Endowment for distribution to official FSM PAN sites.

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