Today marks a groundbreaking moment for Niue, where Premier Dalton Tagelagi was able to officially launch the first-of-its-kind Ocean Conservation Commitments (OCCs) in New York.
The OCCs are an innovative financing mechanism that funds the protection of 1 square kilometre of Niues ocean waters for 20 years, as well as the development of Niues broader natural environment and blue economy.
This initiative was led and managed by the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) Trust, a New Zealand Charitable Trust, that was established between a public-private partnership between the Government of Niue and local non-profit organisation Tofia Niue that has been ongoing since 2015.
Sponsorship of one OCC is $250 New Zealand dollars. Donors can sponsor one or more OCCs which comprise a total of 127,000 Ocean Conservation Commitments available.
This is based on the size of Niues Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, which spans 127,000 square kilometres.
In a government press statement, Premier Tagelagi says the Government of Niue will sponsor nearly 1,700 OCCs which represents one for every resident of Niue.
Several NGOs and private donors have already committed to sponsor the first OCCs.
With a NOW Trust capitalization of $18 million US dollars, all sponsorships will be used to fund a range of conservation, resilience, and sustainable development efforts towards protecting Niues Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Territorial Sea which is part of the Nukutuluea Multiple-Use Marine Park that was established in 2022.
Premier Tagelagi says that “Niue will now have the ability to implement monitoring and evaluation activities to assess reef health and fish stocks and strengthen coastal management plans for the island’s 14 villages. Moreover, we are keen to also fund ocean conservation education programmes and scholarships for Niuean children and community members, as well as promote traditional knowledge and practices in park management.”
“Ultimately, this approach to funding marine conservation via OCCs will empower Niue to build a climate-resilient and sustainable blue economy to ensure long-term durability,” says Premier Tagelagi.
Niue is home to pristine coral reefs, undersea mountains and diverse marine life. Niue’s EEZ is largely unexploited and serves as a sanctuary for marine life species such as sharks, whales, dolphins, rays and turtle species.
Sponsorship of the OCCs and general donations will help maintain Niue’s intact marine ecosystems for the benefit of its people and the global community at large.
Anyone from individuals to corporations to foundations, multi-laterals and bilateral development partners are invited to sponsor OCCs.
More information on the Ocean Conservation Commitments can be found on the Niue Ocean Wide website at niueoceanwide.com