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UK to invest £150m in global ocean project to help developing countries protect marine habitat

UK to invest £150m in global ocean project to help developing countries protect marine habitat
July 01
17:06 2022

The United Kingdom (UK), has pledged to invest £150 million in a new global programme tagged ‘COAST’ to help developing countries protect marine habitat, improve the sustainability and productivity of small-scale fisheries, and unlock aquaculture’s potential.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the UK government said the announcement was made at the ongoing Ocean Conference in Lisbon. 

It said the fund is part of the £500 million Blue Planet Fund, launched at the G7 Leaders Summit in 2021.

It added that the fund will be used to  support developing countries and vulnerable coastal communities around the world adapt to climate change and build “sustainable, prosperous coastal economies.”

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“The UK Government has joined other world leaders at the UN Ocean Conference to announce new initiatives to protect the global marine environment, marking a significant step forward in our mission to protect at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030,” the statement reads. 

“The government’s ambitious £500 million Blue Planet Fund, launched at the G7 Leaders Summit last year, is already supporting developing countries and vulnerable coastal communities around the world adapt to climate change and build sustainable, prosperous coastal economies.

“In the latest installment of the Fund announced today, a record £150 million will be invested in a new global programme, known as COAST, to protect and restore valuable coastal and marine habitats such as corals, mangroves and seagrasses, improve the sustainability and productivity of small-scale fisheries, and help developing countries unlock aquaculture’s potential.

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“Up to £100 million of Blue Planet funding will also be used to support the implementation, management and enforcement of Marine Protected Areas, which are created to limit potentially damaging activity at sea and support the recovery of key habitats and marine species, and other effective conservation measures in developing countries.

“Building on this momentum, the UK has announced it will join the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, a global initiative which brings together governments, businesses, financial institutions, the science community and civil society to drive the transition to a sustainable ocean economy.” 

Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK minister for pacific and international environment, said it is “absolutely critical” for commitments to be  translated into action because the world’s oceans are in crisis and have reached a tipping point. 

“Through our new £500 million Blue Planet Fund we are helping countries tackle a wide range of issues, from illegal fishing to plastic pollution and marine protection,” he said. 

Canada and the US, has also this week launched a world-first global alliance to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing which poses a threat to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and global fish stocks by undermining fisheries management and distorting trade.

“The IUU Fishing Action Alliance will bring together countries leading the fight against IUU fishing, countries targeted by IUU fishing, and organisations helping tackle the issue.” 

The statement added that the announcement is in addition to already existing support programmes under the Blue Planet Fund including: £43 million to the Ocean-Country Partnership Programme (OCPP); £36 million to the Sustainable Blue Economies Programme; £7.5 million to the Global Plastics Action Partnership (GPAP) – all aimed at helping developing and small island countries build a climate-resilient economy.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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