William N. Kostka
William Kostka was born and raised on the island of Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia. After graduating from Xavier High School in Chuuk State, he went on to earn an Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts from Santa Rosa Junior College in 1990. He returned and after a short stint with the Pohnpei State Government went to work at the College of Micronesia-FSM as the Student Services Coordinator at the Pohnpei Campus. In 1998, he helped found and became the first Board Chairman and Executive Director of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, the leading local conservation NGO in the nation. In 2002, Mr. Kostka also co-founded and currently serves as Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust, a charitable and irrevocable corporation organized to support biodiversity conservation and related sustainable development for the people of Micronesia by providing long term sustained funding. He also acted as Co-coordinator of the Pacific Islands MPA Community up until recently and still serves as the IUCN-WPCA Micronesia Sub-region Marine Program Coordinator. Kostka was also involved and very instrumental in the development of the Federated States of Micronesia’s National Environment Sector Strategies for the Compact Re-negotiations with the United States Government which secured $2 million annually for environmental protection and sustainable development work in the nation. In 2006, Kostka became a Pew Fellow and used his fellowship grant to launch and further the implementation of the Micronesia Challenge, a common commitment by the countries and territories of Micronesia to a comprehensive system of resilient MPA networks. This commitment will see at least 30% of the nearshore marine and 20% of the forest resources across Micronesia under effective conservation by 2020. As part of this innovative initiative, Kostka and other partners launched the Micronesia Challenge Internship Program which provides scholarships and leadership training to ten of Micronesia’s brightest to prepare the next generation of conservation “Champions” in the region.
Micronesia and Hawaii have had a strong and fruitful relationship for many years. In the past, Micronesian navigators joined forces with Hawaiian navigators to bring back the art of traditional navigation and sailing to the people of the Pacific and the world. Today, Micronesia is inviting Hawaii to join other island leaders in addressing global challenges and sharing island solutions. In Micronesia, we have built a strong and diverse public-private partnership to achieve the Micronesia Challenge: a joint commitment by five Micronesian governments – the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the US Territory of Guam and the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands – to effectively conserve at least 30% of their near-shore marine resources and 20% of their terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.
The Micronesia Challenge is Micronesia’s strategy to:
- Abate and adapt to climate change and sea level rise and its impending threats;
- Engage the support and participation of our national leaders to shape our economic future through mainstreaming climate and conservation initiatives into national development plans and actions;
- Reduce threats to our terrestrial and marine resources through effective management of our national networks of protected areas, from our forested mountain-tops to our atolls and reefs;
- Encourage local, national and international partnerships for cost-effective implementation;
- Build local capacity to ensure successful long-term management; and
- Secure sustainable financing to support both short and long-term implementation of local and regional actions.