An analysis of issues affecting the management of coral reefs and the associated capacity building needs in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
The primary purpose of this assessment is to examine the issues that affect capacity in the CNMI as it relates to implementing the priorities expressed in the PSD and present a set of near-term recommendations for addressing persistent capacity gaps and barriers. The recommendations are offered in an appreciation of the context of the CNMI. Implementation of the recommendations will require an implementation strategy that is adaptive. Based on the changing conditions, some recommendations may be dropped, others implemented as planned, and yet others arise as priorities that may not have been anticipated as part of this process. Indeed, the challenges facing coral reef management in the CNMI will require a long-term strategy for building adaptive capacity within the current governance system as well as an appreciation for what may be needed to change the existing system. As with the other jurisdictions that depend on the goods and services that coral reef ecosystems provide, the CNMI will need to honestly evaluate its current ecosystem governance paradigm and structures that support or impede it. Shifting to new governance pathways may be very difficult as it requires exploring new paradigms for economic growth and sustainable development that may challenge current opinions and worldviews, incentives, power relationships, and institutions operating at different scales that do not support such shifts (Olssen et al., 2010).