The project will enhance Niues capacity to effectively create and manage protected areas for biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of natural resources, and safeguarding of ecosystem services. It focuses on the expansion of its protected estate on land and on its marine areas through a combination of community conservation areas (CCA) and government-led protected areas. In CCAs, both strict protection and sustainable use zones will be identified and planned carefully, using innovative protection tools recognizing that tenure over most land areas is vested in local communities. This project has been designed to engineer a paradigm shift in the management of terrestrial, coastal and marine protected sites from a site-centric approach to a holistic ridge to reef comprehensive approach. Through this approach, activities in the immediate production landscapes adjacent to marine and terrestrial protected areas will be managed to reduce threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services stemming from key production activities (e.g. tourism and agriculture). Additionally, the project also introduces the concept of connectivity between landscape and seascape in Niue. Terrestrial protected areas will include a landscape that links strictly protected community areas (tapu) to each other to enhance their integrity and to form a functional ecological corridor between them. Similarly, the creation of a MPA at Beveridge Reef also satisfies the integrated and holistic approach promoted by the project by recognizing the link that is thought to exist between the Reef and mainland Niue through which the former serves as a source of recruitment for clams and other marine species that make up Niues coral reefs.
The primary objective of the project is to strengthen conservation and sustainable use of land, water and marine areas and their biodiversity by building on their cultural heritage values through integrated national and community actions and this will be achieved through the following outcomes;
Outcome 1: New community conservation and national protected areas established at different levels, thus reducing threats and improving biodiversity status of conservation areas through effective community management
Outcome 1 identifies communities as the agents of management and monitoring. It comprises the major project interventions on the ground leading to protective measures at different levels and through different instruments thus reducing threats and improving biodiversity status. A large part of the work will be carried out primarily by empowering Village Councils and Communities as owners.
Outcome 2: Strengthened community and cross-sectoral involvement of relevant national government departments to promote effective Ridge to Reef management by mainstreaming biodiversity and environmental concerns into plans and actions
Outcome 2 is focussed primarily upstream at the central and local government levels and it targets institutional strengthening, capacity building and other foundational elements. At the local, Village Council level this Outcome seeks a stronger institutional foundation and enhanced capacities; likewise among central government functionaries. Institutional strengthening will be achieved through policy and regulatory reforms at central level but also through by-laws at Local Level. Capacities will be enhanced through the provision of expertise and know-how for land use planning and management, protected area management (including for eco-tourism), species protection and management, sustainability.
Beveridge Reef MPA, Western Reef Conservation Area and Confluence Conservation Area with management plans adopted and implemented by the end of the project
Biodiversity considerations become an explicit element in policies, plans, strategies and similar instruments
Additional 4,500ha of marine ecosystems and 200ha of reef protected by various instruments by the end of the project