A new conservation effort founded by a group of nonprofit organizations is looking to protect 18 million square kilometers (7 million square miles) of the ocean over the next five years.
The area the nascent Blue Nature Alliance aims to protect would be twice the size of the continental United States and larger than the continent of South America.
The Alliance is a collaboration led by Conservation International, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. It aims to expand and enhance ocean protections with a focus on working alongside Indigenous peoples and local communities, scientists and academia, and other partners.
For starters, the Alliance is working with governments and other partners on large-scale efforts in Fiji’s Lau Seascape, Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, and Tristan da Cunha to collectively secure protections over 4.8 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles) of the ocean. Following that, the Alliance will soon engage in efforts in Canada, Palau, Seychelles, and the Western Indian Ocean to strengthen and enhance the protection of an additional 2 million square kilometers (734,000 square miles) of the ocean.
The Alliance has also identified 18 additional “engagements” across North and South America, Europe, and the Asian Pacific region, and will announce the next round of locations this coming summer.
According to ‘Aulani Wilhelm, senior vice president of oceans for Conservation International:
“A healthy ocean is key to our existence. It provides nutrition and employment for a majority of people around the world and half of the oxygen each of us breathes. Yet significantly less of our ocean is protected when compared to land. We must collaborate globally, in partnership with local governments and Indigenous peoples, to make the conservation of our ocean a priority. The time is now to take big practical action to move this work forward.”
Tom Dillon, senior vice president for environment at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said :
“From the coastlines to the high seas, we need to tackle conservation holistically and in partnership. Our collective efforts will help secure a healthy ocean that is more resilient to climate change and yields benefits to both nature and people. To boost biodiversity, fisheries, and economies, the Blue Nature Alliance will work with partners globally to apply science and lessons learned, and build on best practices to conserve our ocean at scale. We need this type of ambition to address the challenges facing our ocean today.”
The Blue Nature Alliance’s efforts will support the push to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030, a global conservation goal expected to be formally adopted at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference later this year. To date, less than 10 percent of the global ocean is protected. The 30 percent goal is widely agreed upon as the threshold needed to maintain a resilient and functioning ocean that supports the health of people and nature.
For more info, go to the Alliance’s website at bluenaturealliance.org or check out the video below.
(Image credit: Richard Sidey/GALAXIID)