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Background

Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) consist of 8 islands (Kanton, Endebury, Birnie, Rawaki, Mackean, Orona, Nikumaroro and Manra). Two islands of this archipelago ecosystem: Howland and Baker, lie in the adjacent territory of the United States, to the North of Kiribati.

PIPA’s boundaries encompass 408,250 Sq.km, a submerged reef and at least 14 identified seamounts. It was the world’s first, truly deep water, mid-ocean marine protected area.

PIPA was established under the 2008 Phoenix Islands Protected Area Regulation, promulgated pursuant to section 43(1) and 86(1) of the Environment Act (1999) as amended by the Environment (Amendment) Act 2007, and subsequently supported by the Phoenix Islands protected area Amendment Regulations 2014 and 2017. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is the Government of Kiribati’s (GOK) conservation and sustainable use strategy for the Phoenix Islands and surrounding marine environment.

Vision

To conserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Phoenix Islands protected area for the sustained benefit of the people of Kiribati and the world.

Mission

To implement effective, integrated, adaptive management that ensures the natural and cultural heritage values of PIPA are maintained and, where necessary, restored to achieve PIPA’s vision.

PIPA Management Plan

The Management of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area reflects a science-and-people-based approach to conservation, focusing on preserving the health and resiliency of the area’s habitats and species.  The management plan emphasizes building core partnerships, infrastructure and capacity to deliver real conservation outcomes for the area.  It includes implementation of zonation plan based on habitat and biological values, responsible fisheries management, and permitting requirements for tourists and researchers. 

Better understanding and monitoring of PIPA’s biodiversity is key.  Researchers track reef health, populations of indicator species, and the impact of climate change.  The very existence of PIPA is also a climate change adaptation strategy.  With other stresses on its ocean ecosystems removed and managed, PIPA is better able to withstand climate changes.  This unique protected area presents a rare opportunity to understand and model climate change impacts and resilience on coral reefs.