Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced new initiatives to improve management of marine resources, increase ocean resilience to climate change, and safeguard ocean health for generations to come at the 2023 Our Ocean Conference in Panama.
A healthy ocean benefits nature and people alike: the ocean sustains all life on Earth, regulates our climate and weather, and provides food and livelihoods for billions of people. Conservation of ocean habitats and wildlife is a key part of sustainable ocean management. But today, ocean health is deteriorating from the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, including ocean warming, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification, and massive quantities of plastic pollution entering our waters.
USAID is initiating and expanding on twelve programs totaling over $84 million, subject to the availability of funds and Congressional notifications, as part of the Agency’s efforts to address the climate crisis and protect ocean health and security, including:
- $40.5 million for country programs to combat ocean plastic pollution at the local level under the Save Our Seas Initiative in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. This includes $10 million, to expand on the global flagship “Clean Cities, Blue Ocean” program, which works in 25 cities across 10 countries to build capacity for sustainable solid waste management and accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Efforts in these countries will contribute to the USG goal to eliminate plastic leakage into the environment by 2040.
- Over $22.5 million for country 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 in Africa, Asia, Central America, and in the Caribbean region. This includes over $13.7 million, subject to the availability of funds and Congressional notifications, for the Resilient Coastal Communities public-private partnership which pilots new, innovative ways to improve the management of the rich but fragile marine and coastal ecosystems in northern Mozambique. The activity aims to create improved livelihoods and sustainable economic opportunities for youth and women to achieve positive impacts on the long-term health and productivity of these marine ecosystems that are vital to food security.
- More than $15.1 million for country programs to advance sustainable fisheries in Asia and Latin America. This includes over $5.6 million for the Por La Pesca (“For Fisheries”) initiative in Peru and Ecuador in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation to address illegal, unreported and unregulated 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.
- $6 million to improve the management of national and provincial marine protected areas (MPAs) in Indonesia. The Konservasi Laut Efektif (Effective Marine Conservation) program will explore opportunities to work with the private sector to improve institutional management, mobilize sustainable financing, support local livelihoods for coastal communities, and improve protection for marine endangered, threatened, and protected species and priority habitats.
More about the 12 new initiatives from USAID that address the challenges facing the global ocean and ocean communities is available in our OOC 2023 Fact Sheet here. To learn more about USAID’s work to address the climate crisis, you can find more information on our website: usaid.gov/climate.
These and other USAID activities support the ambitious global targets for ocean conservation under the Ocean Conservation Pledge, an initiative announced by the United States at the Our Oceans Conference in 2022 in Palau, to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030. To date, 17 countries have endorsed the Ocean Conservation Pledge, with commitments to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of ocean waters under their jurisdictions by 2030.