Photo © Jon McCormack for Conservation International

BY KILEY PRICE

The ocean is the origin and engine of all life on Earth, yet humanity is pushing it to the brink. One-third of wild fisheries are depleted due to overfishing, while man-made emissions fuel climate change and drive up ocean temperatures, with catastrophic implications for marine life, the climate, and global food security.

A bold new partnership could offer a life raft.

The Blue Nature Alliance, a group of international conservation organizations, philanthropists, and governments, is working to advance the conservation of 18 million square kilometres of ocean—an area twice the size of the continental United States—over the next five years.

To date, less than 10 percent of the world’s oceans are protected. The Alliance aims to help double that.

“Given what the world is up against, we must protect as much of the ocean as we can, as fast as we can,” explained ‘Aulani Wilhelm, senior vice president of oceans at Conservation International, which is helping to lead the Blue Nature Alliance. “That means advancing new models of conservation in partnership with communities, governments and the private sector to change the way we value our oceans and all they provide for humanity.”

© Jon McCormack
© Shawn Heinrichs
©Richard Sidey/GALAXIID

Currently, only about two percent of the world’s oceans are protected against harmful activities like commercial fishing and oil drilling. The Blue Nature Alliance supports the global push to expand ocean areas under protection to 30 percent by 2030—which scientists say is necessary to limit the impacts of climate change on our oceans and prevent the widespread extinction of marine species.

Working alongside Indigenous and local communities, governments, and ocean experts, the Alliance is already advancing the conservation of more than 4.8 million square kilometres of ocean across Canada, Seychelles, Fiji, Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, and Tristan da Cunha—the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world.

The Canadian government plans to protect 30 percent of its waters by 2030. To help reach this goal, the Blue Nature Alliance is partnering with the non-profit Oceans North, which works with Inuit, First Nations, and Métis communities to support the establishment of Indigenous-led marine protected areas.

The next phase of the Alliance will engage in Palau, Western Indian Ocean, Niue, Costa Rica, Panama, and Chile, to strengthen and enhance the protection of nearly two million square kilometres of ocean protection.

“We must collaborate at every level and ensure the way we work in partnership with local communities, governments and Indigenous peoples is fair and just, to advance shared priorities for ocean conservation,” Wilhelm said. “From Canada to Tristan da Cunha, large and small countries alike are taking courageous actions in service of humanity and the planet. We hope their example inspires others.”

© Shawn Heinrichs
© Rodolphe Holler
© Rodolphe Holler

Could your community benefit from Blue Nature Alliance support? Visit bluenaturealliance.org/contact-us to find out.

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The Blue Nature Alliance is a global partnership founded and led by Conservation International, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob & Melani Walton Foundation. We believe that the only way to achieve the pace and scale of conservation needed is by joining and aligning with those that share our ambition.

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