Niue Announces New Initiative to Fund Ocean Protection

Niue, one of the smallest nations on the planet, has launched a first-of-its-kind sustainable funding initiative to ensure long-term conservation of its sovereign waters: Ocean Conservation Commitments (OCCs).

This initiative will be managed by the newly formed Niue and Ocean Wide (NOW) Trust, a charitable trust established to support Niue’s ambitious conservation goals and foster a sustainable blue economy for the people of Niue.

OCCs are a philanthropic mechanism designed to help fund the long-term protection of Niue’s ocean territory whilst leveraging a wide range of mutually reinforcing outcomes.

Potential donors may sponsor one or more OCCs, each representing the costs to protect and manage a square kilometer of Niue’s ocean territory for up to 20 years. Sponsorship of one OCC is US$148, with 127,000 OCCs available (based on the size of Niue’s Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, which spans 127,000 km2).

As part of the launch of the new initiative, NiuePremier Hon. Dalton Tagelagi says the Government of Niue will sponsor nearly 1,700 OCCs – one for every resident of Niue.

“As a small island nation, Niue’s vast marine territory holds immense ecological, cultural, and economic value to our people. Its ecosystem services also provide regional and global environmental benefits. The ocean is everything to us. We are also proud that several NGOs and private donors have already committed to sponsoring the first OCCs: the Blue Nature Alliance, Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam, and Conservation International,” said Tagelagi.

Marine Sanctuary

The proceeds raised through OCC sponsorships will be held and managed by the NOW Trust and used to fund a range of conservation, resilience, and sustainable development efforts that reinforce durable ocean conservation and sustainably manage the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Territorial Sea (TTS), all of which is part of the Niue Nukutuluea Multiple-Use Marine Park, established in 2022.

With a NOW Trust capitalization target of US$18 million, OCC sponsorship will directly contribute to the incremental cost, above what the GON currently spends, of conserving and managing the EEZ and TTS, as well as the value of ecosystem services the EEZ and TTS provides,” says Premier Tagelagi.

Tagelagi added that with the establishment of the Niue Nukutuluea Multiple-Use Marine Park last year and culminating today with the launch of the OCCs, Niue has established itself as a small but important global leader in ocean conservation.

Niue has a marine territory 1,200 times larger than its land mass. The 321,018-square-kilometer area is home to pristine coral reefs, undersea mountains, and diverse marine life. Niue’s EEZ has largely been unexploited and serves as a sanctuary for many shark, whale, dolphin, ray, and turtle species. Sponsorship of the OCCs, and/or general donations will help maintain Niue’s intact marine ecosystems for the benefit of its people and the global community.