Natural resources in marine and coastal areas are of high economic importance for Pacific island countries and sustain the livelihoods of coastal communities. However, the need to conserve and use marine resources sustainably is not sufficiently reflected in national planning processes, due in part to a lack of information regarding their economic value. Existing marine protected areas (MPAs) have often been developed opportunistically, lack a clear design and spatial planning process, and are not managed in a way to secure associated biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Improved management of marine and coastal biodiversity on volcanic islands (Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) and atolls (Kiribati, Tonga) will help countries to meet their commitments under the CBD Strategic Plan 2011–2020 and the relevant Aichi targets, including the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) and the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity (PoWIB).
The project will undertake economic assessments of marine and coastal ecosystems in the five project countries in a national and on regional level compatible to the global TEEB program in order to contribute to national development plans. The project aims to mainstream and extend re-designed MPA networks using seascape-level planning and will demonstrate effective approaches to site management, including payment for ecosystem services. Tried and tested concepts and instruments will be adopted throughout the Pacific community and disseminated internationally.
Enhanced ecosystem-based management and more effectively managed marine resources will lead to more resilient coastal and marine ecosystems, more effective conservation of marine biodiversity, and will contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as to securing and strengthening local livelihoods.