Home NewsEnvironmental Water issues Global 1million+ sq. km of new ocean protected areas committed in light of new climate report

1million+ sq. km of new ocean protected areas committed in light of new climate report

The Blue Prosperity Coalition (BPC) has commended the announcement of robust marine protection commitments by two island states as a major milestone in efforts to build ocean resilience in the face of mounting climate impacts.

The Republic of the Maldives & Federated States of Micronesia have committed to sustainably build their ocean economies while fully protecting a significant portion of their ocean waters.

Together, the new combined commitments from the islands amount to the potential protection of 1,082,000 km2 of the global oceans.

David W. Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia commented:

“We need to recognize that our islands are at risk, and if we do not act now, it will be too late. Our people rely on the ocean for their food, their jobs, and their wellbeing. I am confident that by partnering with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, my country can plan for the future in a way that not only considers the importance of a sustainable economy, but one that values and promotes our most important resource, our ocean.”

The announcements take immediate action upon the recommendations from alarming new findings in a report by he UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in New York this week, on the rate and scale of ocean damage occurring under the climate crisis.

Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, President of the Maldives said:

“You can’t protect the ocean without solving climate change and you can’t solve climate change without protecting the ocean. The findings of the latest IPCC report on the Ocean and Cryosphere are a clear wake-up call for all of us to do more to preserve ocean health.

“The IPCC report leaves us in no doubt that we are experiencing an ocean crisis and only robust measures will avert very serious consequences. “71% of Maldivians rely on the ocean for their primary source of income. It’s imperative that we protect the health of our oceans now and for the future, and we are excited to partner with the Blue Prosperity Coalition to make this commitment a reality.”

The partnerships are the latest to be sealed under the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a network of global experts that offer world-class planning, legal, advocacy, strategy, and scientific expertise to help governments grow their ocean economies sustainably while supporting livelihoods as well as ecosystem health.

The governments of Bermuda, the Azores, Barbuda and Curacao have undertaken similar commitments; though island nations such as these contribute far less to the global rise in greenhouse gasses, they are committed to leading the way towards solutions.

The IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate published on 25th September reveals the extent of the crisis facing humanity as the ocean and its services begin to show signs of collapse.

“We are at an important tipping point for our planet where we are aware of the problems, but we also know the solutions. Creating large networks of fully protected ocean areas will be a key part of mitigating the effects of climate change and securing a sustainable future of jobs and resources for these island states.”  said Heather Zichal, Executive Director of the Blue Prosperity Coalition and former Climate Advisor for President Barack Obama.

State parties to the legally binding Convention on Biological Diversity will negotiate new targets to protect biodiversity at a meeting in 2020. Scientists say the target for marine biodiversity should be to protect at least 30% of the ocean through implemented highly and fully protected areas, with the remaining 70% of the ocean sustainably managed.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a place in the ocean where human activities are limited. – the most effective MPAs are fully protected to prohibit all extractive use (fishing, mining, etc.)

The intergovernmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has set a global target to protect “30% of each marine habitat” in “highly protected areas with no extractive activities” by 2030. However, according to the latest data from MPA Atlas.org (September 2019), only roughly 4.8% of it is currently protected, with just 2.2% fully protected.

Over 70 countries have made commitments to protect portions of their ocean territories, yet less than 5% of the ocean is currently designated as fully protected no-take areas, falling massively short of the 30% by 2030 target.

The Blue Prosperity Coalition is a growing global network of ocean organizations and experts, launched in March 2019 which offers financing and world-class planning, legal, advocacy, strategy, implementation and scientific expertise to support governments interested in developing their Blue Economies.

Click here for more information about the Blue Prosperity Coalition

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