World’s Largest Marine Parks Established in Cook Islands, New Caledonia
15 September 2012: The Cook Islands and New Caledonia have announced the establishment of new marine parks. The Cook Islands Marine Park encompasses approximately 1.1 million square kilometers (km2) of the southern Cook Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), making it the largest single-country marine park. The Government of New Caledonia committed to establishing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) covering 1.4 million km2.
The Cook Islands' Marine Park was designed and established in partnership with Conversation International, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the University of California Santa Barbara (US).
The announcements were made in the sidelines of the 43rd Pacific Leaders Forum (PIF 43). According to SPREP, both initiatives are contributions to the Pacific Oceanscape, an Oceans Framework for the Pacific, which was adopted by Pacific Leaders in 2010. [SPREP Press Release]