Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) was declared by the Government of Kiribati the GLISPA high level event at the 2006 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP8) in Brazil. PIPA includes all eight atoll and low reef islands of the Kiribati section of the Phoenix Island Group, Rawaki, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, McKean, Manra, Birnie, Kanton and Orona and is the largest marine protected area on Earth. PIPA also includes two submerged reefs, Carondelet Reef and Winslow Reef.
It is estimated that there could be more than 30 seamounts within PIPA though to date only nine have been named. The greater part of PIPA by area is comprised of ocean floor with a water column averaging more than 4,000 meters (2.5 miles) deep with a maximum at 6,147 meters. Under the direction of the Kiribati government, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) also provides protection for the terrestrial habitats to safeguard the important nesting grounds for seabirds, many of which are threatened or endangered, and rare traditional plants that have cultural and medicinal values in Kiribati, but are now threatened on more populated islands.
- January 2008, Kiribati adopted formal regulations for PIPA that more than doubled the original size to make it at that time the largest marine protected area on Earth. With a size of 408,250 km2 (157,626 sq. miles) it is the largest marine protected area in the Pacific Ocean and the largest marine conservation effort of its kind by a Least Developed Country.
- In 2010 PIPA was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is the largest and deepest World Heritage site on Earth.
- PIPA is partly financed through an innovative "reverse fishing license" which funds an endowment to cover core management costs and compensate the government for foregone commercial fishing license revenues.