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Equator Initiative Case Study - Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area

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The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area was established in 1995 as the first community-managed marine conservation area in the Solomon Islands. The 157-km² area is home to nesting grounds of the endangered Hawksbill sea turtle. This Marine Protected Area, created to stem the overexploitation of dwindling marine resources, attracts ecotourism that provides a valuable source of income for local communities. Local youth are employed as monitors and high school students are brought on tours to learn about the group’s conservation efforts. A management committee that represents the three founding villages – Kia, Wagina and Katupika – helps resolve resource conflicts.
In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, this initiative has led attempts to diversify sources of income and nutrition for the villages’ fishing communities, including making handicrafts for visiting tourists, seaweed harvesting, and small-scale agriculture. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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