Phoenix Islands Protected Area

January 7, 2012 by staff 

Phoenix Islands Protected AreaPhoenix Islands Protected Area, At the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi last week, the Geographic Information System (GIS) software company Esri committed to build a database for the Cook Islands Marine Park to aid in the spatial planning of the 1 million Sq. Km. park, which was officially declared earlier this year by Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.

This new commitment is in response to Prime Minister Henry Puna’s challenge, which was issued to the international community at the summit, to provide support to developing countries who have expressed a commitment to protecting the oceans.

“Working with Esri in the development of initiatives that will lead to better management of our ocean and a more secure future for all Cook Islanders is a very exciting development that underlines the global significance of our marine park declaration,” Prime Minister Puna said.

“The mission of the Eye on Earth summit is to develop recommendations for how data sharing can be used to make a clear path toward sustainability,” said Jack Dangermond,
Esri founder and President. “Esri is proud to provide the technical support through our most recent innovation, ArcGIS Online, which will help to make the Cook Islands Marine Park initiative and the Cook Island Government’s vision a reality.”

The Cook Islands Marine Park is a large addition to the Pacific Oceanscape, an innovative commitment by 16 Pacific Island governments to integrated marine conservation and sustainable management across approximately 40 million sq km of ocean. Prime Minister Puna and the Cook Islands delegation was joined at the summit by Teuea Toatu, Executive Director of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) in Kiribati, and a delegation from Conservation International (CI) which has committed technical and scientific assistance to implement the Pacific Oceanscape since its inception.

“The Pacific Islands are leading the world in marine conservation, and the commitment by the Cook Islands of one million sq km of its Exclusive Economic Zone to a marine park is the latest example of this. The support announced by Esri and UCSB will make a crucial difference to achieving a globally-significant conservation area, and will set the standard for future innovative developments in the Pacific Islands.” Michael Donoghue, Executive Director of Conservation International’s Pacific Islands Programme said.

“We came here to see cutting-edge initiatives for the collection of environmental data and investigate how we can improve access to information in the Pacific Islands,” Prime Minister Puna said. “There is much work to be done to fulfill the promise of our marine park, but we now have some innovative partners in our endeavour, and the Cook Islands is now clearly positioned as a global leader in marine conservation and a champion of island states.”

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