At the March 2–3, 2023 Our Ocean Conference in Panama City, Panama, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced funding for 12 new and ongoing initiatives totaling more than $84 million, subject to the availability of funds and Congressional notifications, to conserve and protect our oceans.
These initiatives support Agency priorities and conference action areas that identify solutions to improve management of marine resources, increase ocean resilience to climate change, and safeguard ocean health for generations to come.
Priority areas include:
Tackling Marine Pollution
USAID announced $40.5 million, subject to the availability of funds and Congressional notifications, to initiate and expand on country programs to combat ocean plastic pollution and other marine debris at the local level. This includes the Save Our Seas Initiative, which will create and expand on programs in 12 key countries and regions to address ocean plastic pollution and other marine debris at the local level that collectively generate more than 40 percent of the global total of mismanaged plastic waste. Of the total $40.5 million, $19.5 million will be programmed in Asia; $7 million in Latin America and the Caribbean; $3 million in Africa; $10 million through the global Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program, which works in 25 cities across 10 countries; and $1 million to conserve marine species adversely impacted by plastic pollution. These efforts will contribute to the USG goal to eliminate plastic leakage into the environment by 2040.
Creating Sustainable Blue Economies
USAID announced over $22.5 million in support of several programs to create sustainable blue economies–which includes the sustainable use of marine resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving ocean health. These country programs include activities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Caribbean, the Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, and the Philippines.
Conserving Coastal Ecosystems Activity
USAID announced over $3.4 million for the Conserving Coastal Ecosystems (CCE) activity in Honduras, which aims to improve coastal ecosystem management to conserve biodiversity, promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, and generate economic opportunity and resilience for Afro descendant and Indigenous Peoples (Garifuna and Pech people) and local communities. CCE will benefit at least 10,000 women, men, and youth in high-migration municipalities near priority coastal wetland systems—including their fisheries, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, marshes, and mud, sand and salt flats—covering 150,000 hectares along Honduras’ Pacific and Caribbean coasts and Bay Islands.
Resilient Coastal Communities Activity
USAID announced over $13.7 million for the Resilient Coastal Communities activity to improve the sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems in Mozambique. Working with the public and private sector, civil society, and religious stakeholders, this activity will develop and pilot projects that will create a significant number of jobs and sustainable economic opportunities for youth and women, while having positive impacts on the long term health and productivity of critical ecosystems, particularly the extraordinarily diverse marine ecosystems that are vital to food security.
Implementation Project Philippines
USAID announced $726,000 for the Implementation Project Philippines through the Investing in Sustainability and Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Regenerative Ecosystems (INSPIRE) activity. They will work in 13 coastal municipalities in five provinces–Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Palawan, and Zambales–to establish a program for inclusive marine/coastal resource governance, security, resilience, and sustainability by organizing civil society groups and supporting conservation-based enterprises to reduce pressures on marine/coastal resources.
Coastal Resilience, Carbon, and Conservation Finance (C3F) Activity
USAID announced $500,000 for the Coastal Resilience, Carbon, and Conservation Finance (C3F) activity through the Climate Finance for Development Accelerator (CFDA), which will partner with the private sector and mobilize funds toward activities that support coastal resilience, blue carbon, and biodiversity conservation.
Central America Regional Coastal Biodiversity Project
USAID announced an additional $2.2 million for USAID's Central America Regional Coastal Biodiversity Project to conserve biodiversity in targeted coastal-marine areas and associated upland ecosystems by enhancing biodiversity-dependent economic opportunities, and sustainable use and governance of natural resources. The activity focuses on the transboundary coastal ecosystems of the Rio Paz (El Salvador and Guatemala), Rio Motagua (Guatemala and Honduras), and the Honduran Miskito Karataska Lagoon System.
Technical Assistance for USAID’s Caribbean Development Program
USAID announced an additional $522,000 for a collaboration between USAID and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reduce threats to biodiversity in the Caribbean through marine and coastal biodiversity conservation, combating illegal trade of wildlife, and building the capacity of local conservation leaders in the wider Caribbean region.
Women Shellfishers and Food Security Activity
USAID announced an additional $1.4 million to support women shellfishers and mangrove conservation in The Gambia and Ghana, while producing research and a toolkit to broaden technical capacity across the African continent.
Advancing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries
USAID announced over $15.1 million in support of sustainable fisheries in Ecuador, Indonesia, Peru, and the Philippines, including:
USAID Bersama Kelola Perikanan (Ber-IKAN) Activity
USAID announced over $8.7 million for the Bersama Kelola Perikanan (Ber-IKAN), or Collaborative Fisheries Management, activity to conserve marine biodiversity in Indonesia through the support of sustainable and equitable management of fisheries. The program will work to bolster adoption of, and compliance with evidence-based fisheries policies for priority fisheries; strengthen small-scale fisheries governance; increase government and market-based incentives for sustainable seafood products; and improve the conservation of endangered, threatened, and protected marine species affected by unsustainable fishing practices. In addition, the program will promote investments that expand market access and strengthen the livelihoods of small-scale fishers, fishing communities and organizations, especially those representing women, youth, indigenous people, and minority groups.
Por La Pesca: Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing in Peru and Ecuador Activity
USAID announced over $5.6 million for the Por La Pesca (“For Fisheries”) activity in Peru and Ecuador in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in both national and international waters. The aim is to increase socioeconomic benefits to fishers and their organizations; increase market demand and incentives for legal/traceable seafood and sustainable fisheries; increase the availability, accuracy, and transparency of fisheries information; and improve the fisheries policy, regulations, and enforcement by national and sub-national governments.
USAID announced $723,000 for Tanggol Kalikasan through the Investing in Sustainability and Partnerships for Inclusive Growth and Regenerative Ecosystems (INSPIRE) activity to reduce illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and poaching, particularly in critical fish habitats in the Philippines.
Advancing Marine Protected Areas for Communities, Ecosystems, and Ocean Health
USAID Konservasi Laut Efektif (Kolektif) Activity
USAID announced $6 million for the Konservasi Laut Efektif (Kolektif), or Effective Marine Conservation, activity, which will help conserve Indonesia’s marine biodiversity by improving the management of national and provincial marine protected areas (MPAs). The project will explore opportunities to work with the private sector to co-manage MPAs to unlock new economic opportunities, mobilize resources, and support local livelihoods.