In this handout photograph from Conservation International taken on December 4, 2006 and released on February 21, 2014, a manta ray swims in the waters of Raja Ampat in eastern Indonesia's remote Papua province. (AFP Photo/Conservation International/Sterling Zunbrunn)

$23m for Bird's Head Seascape Conservation


FEBRUARY 25, 2017

Jakarta. Global conservation organizations, Conservation International, 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."