The Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area (NPMPA) is a winner of the 2008 UNDP Equator Prize; it is a local indigenous non-governmental organization that consists of sixteen communities on two islands. NPMPA involves the sustainable use and long-term existence of marine and terrestrial resources, and currently serves as a model for other island-initiated conservation efforts nationally and throughout the South Pacific. The distinctive holistic approach allows for NPMPA to stand out through practicing proactive conservation, resilient management, and locally-appropriate awareness .
The Republic of Vanuatu, an independent island archipelago in the South-West Pacific, is inhabited by “80% of whom engage in artisanal agriculture and 77% in small-scale fisheries.” The population of Nguna and Pele was just over 1100 people at the time of the last national census (Bakeo et al. 2000), and is spread unevenly among sixteen communities, ten of which are located directly on the coast. The distance between each of the villages is no more than a 3-hour walk from each other. In 1870 the two islands were taken over by missions, and this led to numerous changes to human settlement; massive depopulation forced some villages to converge and move towards the coast while others were abandoned (Don 1918).