Indonesia: $23m for Bird's Head Seascape Conservation

Dion Bisara Jakarta Globe 25 Feb 17;

Jakarta. Global conservation organizations, the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund, and Indonesia government announced on Friday (24/02) that they have raised $23 million for Blue Abadi Fund, a marine conservation trust, to protect the Bird's Head Peninsula in West Papua.

The Blue Abadi Fund aims to provide grants to local communities and agencies that manage 12 protected areas across the peninsula — 3.6 million hectares neighboring with Cenderawasih Bay in in the west and Raja Ampat Islands in the east — to implement sustainable management practices, including ecological and social monitoring and community outreach.

"These protected areas still exist thanks to the support and involvement of the local communities and fishermen," said Rob Walton of the Walton Family Foundation, one of the fund's main supporters, who has been working in the Bird's Head region for more than a decade.

Other donors include the Global Environment Facility, MacArthur Foundation, and USAID.

"Of course, it is not enough to create protected areas, you have to have long-term management and enforcement. That is what the Blue Abadi Fund is all about," Walton said in a statement.

The Bird's Head contains more than 2,500 islands and reefs that are home to 600 species of corals and 1,765 species of fish, 70 of which are endemic to the region.

In 2004, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund launched a coalition aiming for sustainable management of the Bird's Head.

"The future of our planet depends upon the wisdom of communities," said Peter Seligmann, chairman and chief executive of Conservation International.

"Through the Blue Abadi Fund, the global community joins with local communities to secure the long-term health of the Bird's Head seascape, arguably the most diverse marine region of planet Earth."

Indonesia raises US$23 million to conserve Bird’s Head Seascape
Hans Nicholas Jong The Jakarta Post 24 Feb 17;

Indonesia’s bid to protect its marine areas has gained support in the form of a US$23 million investment in the Blue Abadi Fund, which is on track to be the world’s largest marine conservation trust, designed to conserve the country’s Bird’s Head Seascape.

The support was announced by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and the Indonesian government at the World Ocean Summit in Bali on Friday.

The Bird’s Head Seascape is the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, encompassing more than 225,000 square kilometers in West Papua, Indonesia, and home to more than 70 species of reef fishes, corals and crustaceans found nowhere else on the planet.

The announcement comes just five months after the fund initiative was introduced. Once the fund is fully capitalized, the seascape will contain Indonesia’s first sustainably financed marine protected area network (MPAs).

The Blue Abadi Fund will help secure the long-term financial sustainability of the Bird’s Head Seascape by providing grants to local communities and agencies so they can sustainably manage their marine resources into the future.

“The future of our planet depends upon the wisdom of communities,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “Through the Blue Abadi Fund the global community joins with local communities to secure the long-term health of the Bird's Head seascape, arguably the most diverse marine region of Planet Earth.” (ary)

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