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The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and its U.S. chapter have teamed up with the world-renowned American Museum of Natural History to support the museum’s conservation efforts in the biologically rich and diverse Solomon Islands. To mark this collaborative partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between them has been signed.
The MoU underscores the mutual missions and goals of the two organizations and agreement to the co-ordination of future projects, knowledge-sharing, and fund-raising activities and events. Under this two year, renewable agreement, the Foundation and the Museum will each appoint a representative to a coordination committee to oversee joint activities.
To kick-off the alliance, the Foundation’s U.S. chapter will grant funding for the implementation of the museum’s project for integrating community-driven protected areas and biodiversity research to strengthen conservation gains across the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands lie at a crossroads, separating the rich continents of Australasia and the isolated islands of a sprawling Pacific. Few oceanic archipelagos support a greater proportion of the Earth’s living diversity or a richer array of human ways of life and languages. The Solomons’ biological and cultural wealth is imminently threatened by poorly regulated large-scale resource extraction.
The museum partners directly with customary landholding communities to counteract these threats through protected area initiatives based upon Community Conservation Agreements (CCAs) that stipulate partnerships providing educational and livelihood benefits for landholding groups in return for community-driven biodiversity conservation.
In this project, with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation-USA, CCA initiatives will be strengthened at two focal sites that provide a model for conserving biodiversity and essential connectivity to customary land within the largely subsistence-based economies of the Solomons.
These CCA partnerships also provide opportunity for ongoing Museum research programs to function as broader community outreach mechanisms. In the latter stages of this project, the museum will leverage collaborative research within areas of key biodiversity significance to expose people across the Solomons to community governance and conservation gains at the project’s two most well-established sites.
Ultimately, the project’s goals are to: 1) strengthen existing protected areas initiatives, and 2) increase indigenous capacity to achieve meaningful community-driven biodiversity conservation at priority sites across the Solomons.
“The American Museum of Natural History is proud to partner with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and its U.S. chapter in supporting conservation efforts in the Solomon Islands, where the Museum has worked for many years,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the Museum. “This agreement will further the mission of the Museum’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation to mitigate critical threats to global biological and cultural diversity, while bringing scientific research to bear on policy and community-building efforts around the world.”
“The biodiversity and living systems of the Solomons provide cultural and physical sustenance to its people and serve as a critical natural laboratory for global scientific research,” said Dr. Eleanor Sterling, director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.
“Conserving these systems will take a major step forward as a result of our partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. Working together with the Foundation to forge Community Conservation Agreements assists our efforts to partner directly with indigenous people working to implement resource management strategies.
The incentive for landholding groups to achieve their development and livelihood goals is provided, and balanced in exchange for the delivery of community-based biodiversity conservation efforts.”
“With similar missions and matching goals, there is a remarkable synergy between the museum and the Prince’s Foundation, and both of these distinguished organizations are committed to using our complementary resources and mutual compatibility to benefit the people and the threatened biodiversity on the Solomon Islands,” said Maguy Maccario, consul general of Monaco and vice president of the Foundation’s US chapter, on whose initiative the MoU was signed.
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