New commitment doubles down on Bloomberg’s decade-long commitment to safeguard the ocean from climate change – strengthening protections for 10.8 million square miles of ocean to date
Lisbon, Portugal – Today at the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, Bloomberg Philanthropies and eight philanthropic partners committed a collective $1 billion USD to support ocean conservation and the creation, expansion, and management of marine protected areas. This single commitment is roughly equal to all philanthropic giving for marine protected areas and habitat protection over the past decade and will help put ambitious ocean conservation goals within reach by supporting initiatives that help governments, and indigenous and local communities protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. This pledge builds on Bloomberg’s decade-long efforts to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems increasingly threatened by climate change through its Vibrant Oceans Initiative.
The ocean is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, protecting the planet from the worst impacts of global warming by absorbing 90 percent of the excess heat caused by emissions produced by human activity. But as climate change intensifies, the ocean is changing faster than it ever has – increasing death of coral reefs, coastal erosion, and weakening its ability to regulate global climate and weather patterns. As the single largest habitat on earth, the ocean is inextricably linked to human survival, but has been largely overshadowed in the climate change debate – receiving less than one percent of all philanthropic funding. Marine protected areas are vital solutions to the ocean-climate challenge, but they only cover 7.93% of the ocean and an even smaller area, 2.4%, is fully or highly protected.
“Our goal to advance the protection of at least 30 percent of the planet is both urgent and fundamental,” said Antha Williams, who leads Environment Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “To curb the devastating loss of coral reefs, mangroves, and other ecosystems critical to the mitigation of climate change and resilience of coastal communities, Bloomberg Philanthropies is pleased to double down on our support for the Protecting Our Planet Challenge, an important movement to support the livelihoods of our communities threatened by climate change and loss of biodiversity.”
Bloomberg’s Vibrant Oceans Initiative works with key partners in more than 10 target countries to ensure the ocean ecosystem and coastal communities can continue to thrive even in the face of climate change, unrestrained tourism, declining water quality, and overfishing. As part of the Initiative, Bloomberg has worked over the last decade to protect the ocean by supporting the adoption of high-impact marine conservation policies in key regions, leading to increased protections for nearly 10.8 million square miles of ocean around the world to date – nearly three times the land area of the United States.
Dr Gerardo Fragoso, Director of Environmental Programmes, Arcadia, said, “For years, scientists and practitioners have demonstrated the benefits of effectively managed protected areas in slowing decline and promoting the recovery of marine environments. Marine protected areas replenish surrounding waters, and securing a network of at least 30% of the most important places for biodiversity is essential to ensure species, habitats and communities thrive well beyond 2030.”
“This commitment to investing long-term in the expansion and management of marine-protected areas is about much more than ocean waters,” said Aileen Lee, chief of programs, Moore Foundation. “It’s about the people who depend on those oceans. Local residents and community organizations are working to sustain the marine habitats that are central to their lives and livelihoods, and their work simultaneously leads to improving the health of our oceans and environments on a global scale. We are proud to support these focused and committed long-term investments.”
Molly Bartlett, Executive Director of the International Conservation Fund of Canada said: “We have seen in our work the devastation that illegal and unregulated fishing has on marine ecosystems. Fortunately, there are simple solutions at hand that can improve protection of existing marine protected areas, and in turn improve livelihoods in local fishing communities. Marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds can recover quickly when effective protection is put in place. So we are delighted that the Protecting Our Planet Challenge group will enable the creation of more marine protected areas and increased protections for those we already have.”
Jennifer Corpuz, Nia Tero’s Policy Lead, said: “Protecting, promoting and investing in Indigenous guardianship of oceans must be ensured to equitably meet the 30% target.”
“In order to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and human wellbeing, the protection of our oceans is as critical as conserving and restoring our planet’s forests and grasslands,” said Wes Sechrest, Re:wild chief scientist and CEO. “Doing so effectively requires this bold and ambitious commitment to protect the right 30 percent of our oceans by 2030. Re:wild is proud to be part of these efforts, which will undoubtedly benefit all life on Earth.”
Said Cristián Samper, Bezos Earth Fund Principal Advisor for Nature; and President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society: “With this remarkable $1 billion USD commitment to the world’s oceans, the Protecting Our Planet Challenge is helping to ensure the world protects at least 30 percent of nature – both land and sea – by 2030. This is not just a goal about numbers – but a goal to ensure our planet forever remains a sustainable home for both people and wildlife.”
Launched in 2021, The Protecting Our Planet Challenge is a $5 billion private funding commitment to support the protection of at least 30% of the most important areas of the planet by 2030. This largest-ever commitment of its kind is aimed at tackling Earth’s convergent climate, biodiversity, and human wellbeing crises through strengthening and expanding protected areas and by enhancing support for Indigenous stewardship of traditional territory. The Challenge represents the combined 10-year investment plans of individual grant making organizations working independently to support protected and conserved areas across a diversity of lands and seas.
As climate change increasingly threatens key ocean ecosystems, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative is working around the world to advance evidence-based conservation practices and implement data-driven policies to protect our ocean and the 3 billion people that depend on it. The Initiative has dedicated nearly $200 million to ocean conservation efforts to date – focusing on efforts that protect and restore the world’s ocean by promoting ocean conservation, protecting resilient coral reef habitats, and reducing the practice of harmful and illegal overfishing. The Initiative currently operates with local organizations and global partners Rare, Oceana, Global Fishing Watch, and the Wildlife Conservation Society in 10 countries – Australia, The Bahamas, Chile, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Tanzania, Peru, and the United States.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.