U.S. funds new ocean conservation programs

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on April 14 announced 24 initiatives to protect the ocean at the Our Ocean Conference 2022 in Palau.

The ocean sustains all life on Earth, regulates our climate and weather, generates half of the planet’s oxygen, and provides food and livelihoods for billions of people. But today, the health of the ocean is under threat from the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, including ocean warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification. 

Additional human-caused stressors such as plastic pollution are exacerbating these negative impacts of climate change, threatening marine ecosystems and livelihoods around the world. As part of USAID’s effort to elevate climate work and address the climate crisis, it is initiating new programs that address the conference themes including:

  • Several programs to advance small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, including up to US$21 million to address the drivers of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Islands region through the OurFish OurFuture and Pacific Coastal Fisheries Management and Compliance projects; and the new Sustainable Fish Asia project that will award up to $13.9 million to improve management of marine biodiversity and fisheries resources in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Climate Resilient Cities program in the Philippines, an up to $15 million program to help climate vulnerable cities strengthen their resilience by adapting to, mitigating, and enduring the impacts of climate change.
  • The flagship Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program, which currently partners with seven countries to combat ocean plastic pollution and implement the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act by building local capacity to strengthen solid waste management systems, will expand to include Pacific Island countries.
  • A new partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) through which Norad will provide 30,000,000 NOK (about $3.36 million) in funding for CCBO in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. Norad’s investment in CCBO will help expand efforts on women’s economic empowerment and provide grants to strengthen local solid waste management systems.
  • The $6.3 million public-private partnership (the NOSY MANGA Restorative Aquaculture for Nature and Communities project) between USAID/Madagascar (which is contributing $2.5 million), Ocean Farmers, and Indian Ocean Trepang to create sustainable blue economies through scalable market-based aquaculture of seaweed and sea cucumber and to support community-based sustainable management of marine resources.
  • The Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Ocean, and Landscapes which will fund up to $5.5 million in the Philippines to improve natural resource governance in marine landscapes, stimulate public and private sector investments in natural resource management, and reduce environmental crimes and unsustainable practices.

Photo credit: iStock/ vlad61

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