Home to the World’s Deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) of the Republic of Kiribati is an ocean treasure-trove that lies in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway between Fiji and Hawaii and is one of the most remote island chains on Earth. PIPA encompasses Kiribati’s eight islands: Kanton, Enderbury, Birnie, Rawaki, Mackean, Orona, Nikumaroro and Manra.
The Phoenix Islands hold the key elements to mankind’s battle with global warming and climate change. Its marine environment is exceptionally diverse-spectacular turquoise lagoons with huge coral heads and clams, pristine and colorful reefs surrounding atolls, low reef islands and reefs running down the slopes of seamounts to the ocean floor. What is amazing about PIPA’s Ocean environment, is its isolation from the world that has allowed coral reefs to develop heat resistance. PIPA holds heat resistant coral reefs that are the key to replenishing the world’s coral population. Because of its remoteness, Phoenix islands are one of the world’s last relatively unspoiled atoll and reef island archipelago.
PIPA is Kiribati’s Okai (traditional store house): a Noah’s Ark of global significance that allows marine and terrestrial treasures to rest and multiply. PIPA is an okai that will strengthen food security for Kiribati and the rest of the world through allowing the preserved richness of life to grow and overflow.
In 2010, PIPA made history as it was inscribed into UNESCO’S list of World Heritage Sites. At the time, PIPA was the world’s largest and deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it still holds the title of the world’s deepest UNESCO World Heritage Site. The many seamounts, 14 now identified, are amongst the deepest and tallest in the world. They hold the secrets to sustaining a variety and abundance of marine life.