11 Jul 2022

Pacific Islands Forum: Niue's focus on climate and marine park

1:06 pm on 11 July 2022

Niue's delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum gathering has discussions about climate issues and promoting Niue's large-scale marine park on the top of its agenda.

Niue's west coast, seen from the south of the island.

Large chunks of Niue's ocean area has been designated as marine park or marine reserve areas. Photo: 123rf/ Gary Webber

Niue's delegation plans to present its new Sustainable Financing Mechanism, called Ocean Conservation Credits (OCC), to the four day gathering.

It is a world-first initiative, the Niue government said.

The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting begins today, and runs unto 14 July, in Suva.

Niue High Commissioner to New Zealand Fisa Pihigia said the OCC will be used for the protection of the country's large scale marine park.

The next step is to secure early 'anchor investors', he said: "To leverage global markets in the ocean protection, biodiversity and climate finance space… Any support that maintains the conservation of the whole area that's been declared, so one of the things they are looking at is the conservation credit."

Niue's government hopes to secure additional key bilateral partners, including New Zealand, to help support "some of the last pristine ocean spaces on earth".

The hope is that other forum nations will also support and promote the innovation and the sale of OCC, said Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project manager Brendon Pasisi.

Through NOW, the scheme is a public-private partnership between the government of Niue and local non-governmental organisation Tofia Niue.

Pasisi said Niue had formally adopted the island's Ocean Wide Marine Spatial Management Plan for running its enormous marine reserve.

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Niue Moana Mahu marine reserve Photo: supplied

The reserve, named Niue Moana Mahu, makes up 40 percent of the country's ocean space, and was legally established in 2020.

Then, the Niue Nukutuluea Multi-use Marine Park, covering Niue's entire ocean space was legally established this year. It is part of Niue's blue economy.

Pasisi said the OCC were a home-grown solution, with global ecosystem and environmental benefits underpinning the aims of the system, and contributions to be used to promote its longevity.

Pihigia said the OCC would help capitalise on the conservation trust fund, and allow all stakeholders to contribute and participate in the NOW ocean conservation effort.

"It is a long time coming... and it is promoting support from not only New Zealand but other donors, to highlight the project," he said.

More details about the sale of the OCC and the NOW Trust are to be revealed at an event in New Zealand, following the Pacific Islands forum in Fiji.

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