- A Goldman Prize winner from the Cook Islands who was fired for speaking out against mining the floor of the Pacific Ocean has launched a new foundation to support environmental stewardship and social action.
- Jacqueline Evans won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2019 for her central role in establishing Marae Moana in her country: it is the largest multiple-use marine park in the world.
- “This will give our local organizations the independence they need to speak openly when they believe an injustice has been done,” Evans said in a statement.
- Evans used about $66,000 of the funds awarded to her by the Goldman Prize to launch the new foundation.
Goldman Environmental Prize winner Jacqueline Evans has launched the Moana Foundation to advance environmental and social activism in her home country of the Cook Islands.
Evans won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2019 for her central role in establishing Marae Moana, the largest multiple-use marine park in the world, and has now established the foundation to support the work of Cook Islands NGOs working on environmental and social issues.
“This will give our local organizations the independence they need to speak openly when they believe an injustice has been done,” Evans said in a statement.
Despite the global recognition of Evans’s environmental leadership, she lost her job as director of Marae Moana later in 2019 for speaking out in support of a 10-year moratorium on seabed mining across the Pacific Ocean.
Evans hopes that the fund will enable grantees to focus on local priorities, which is sometimes more difficult when funding comes from entities located overseas, an issue that environmental leaders in Papua New Guinea, another Pacific nation, have also discussed with Mongabay.
“We will build the fund up over time to address the pressing needs of future generations of Cook Islanders,” Evans said. “My profound hope is that, one day, it will become a significant resource to protect our environment and look after our people.”
Evans is seeding the fund with NZ$100,000 (about $66,000) she received from the Goldman Prize in order to establish the foundation. (Recipients of the Goldman Prize are each awarded $200,000.)
Banner image of Jacqueline Evans, courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize.