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Esri prepares spatial plan for Marine Park in Cook Islands

Arlington, US: Esri announced that it will build a database for the new Cook Islands Marine Park to aid in the spatial planning of the one million square kilometre park, which was officially declared earlier this year by Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna.
Puna said, “Working with Esri in the development of initiatives that will lead to better management of our ocean and a more secure future for all Cook Islanders is a very exciting development that underlines the global significance of our marine park declaration.”
The Cook Islands Marine Park is a large addition to the Pacific Oceanscape, an innovative commitment by 16 Pacific Island governments to integrated marine conservation and sustainable management across approximately 40 million sq km of ocean. 
“The Pacific Islands are leading the world in marine conservation, and the commitment by the Cook Islands of one million sq/ km. of its Exclusive Economic Zone to a marine park is the latest example of this. The support announced by Esri and the University of California Santa Barbara will make a crucial difference to achieving a globally-significant conservation area and will set the standard for future innovation in the Pacific Islands,” said Michael Donoghue, Executive Director of Conservation International’s Pacific Islands Programm.
Esri, in partnership with University of California, Santa Barbara and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, agreed to assign two senior scientists to bring together all the available information on the marine park into a single digital platform, and to train Cook Islands people to operate it. The project will begin in early 2012.
The Cook Islands Marine Park, the world’s largest marine park, is scheduled to be officially established at the next meeting of the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum, to be held in the Cook Islands in August 2012.
Source: www.conservation.org