October 11, 2018

Funding the Ocean Newsletter – October 2018

News Source: Funding the Ocean

Author(s): C. Davis Parchment

Our Choices. Our Actions. Our Ocean

With the recent closing of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly and the Our Ocean 2018 conference coming up at the end of the month in Bali, we are focusing this newsletter on the goals set forth at the highest level for our sector. We present the resources below for your consideration and to help you align your work with these broader currents.

An important reminder: Foundation funding for ocean conservation is still less than 1 percent and is the least funded of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is hard to imagine given all the known needs and general trends.

But, before we jump into preparation for the Our Ocean 2018 conference, it might also be helpful to remind ourselves about the progress made since 2017. So far, 1,406 of commitments have been registered by a variety of public and private actors. This report provides an analysis of the voluntary commitments to date.

Also, for those of you who missed the Global Climate Action Summit last month, The David and Lucile Packard foundation recorded The Ocean-Climate Challenge: New Approaches, Partnerships and Opportunities conversation, and has posted it for others to watch.

And now onto our conference prep. We have organized the resources below by the areas of action for the conference. We hope these will be useful to you, especially as you prepare for Bali. If you are already working on any of these areas but don’t see your work reflected below, please share your knowledge and we will load it!

If you have any questions or comments, e-mail us at or tweet using #FundtheOcean.

C. Davis Parchment

Marine Protected Areas

According to the Atlas of Marine Protection, "only 3.8 percent of the world’s ocean is protected in implemented and actively managed marine protected areas." Almost 40 funders have made grants to support Marine Protected Areas, with the Oak Foundation taking a strong lead giving over $9 million since 2009. For additional information and the latest news on this topic, visit our resource center.

Climate Change

In September, Meg Caldwell from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation wrote a compelling article in support of ocean conservation as a central strategy in curbing the effects of climate change. As she put it "ocean ecosystems absorb roughly one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 90 percent of the planet’s additional atmospheric heat." So not only does climate change deeply affect our ocean’s health, but the ocean can actually help reverse course if made a central focus of tackling climate change. Given the complexity of the issue, the constellation of funders on the Funding Map reveals some interesting connections between funders and regranting organizations working on climate change issues.

Here are several additional resources on this topic:

Sustainable Fisheries

The Environmental Defense Fund and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch continue to be thought leaders in the sustainable fishing policy and practices. The Global Fishing Watch founded by Google, Skytruth, and Oceana in 2014, and launched in September 2016, has helped usher in a new era in fisheries management and market accountability.

Earlier this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published this critical report, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018, which highlights the importance of fisheries and aquaculture for the food, nutrition and employment of millions of people. Visit the Funding Map to see what funders are doing to combat both Illegal fishing and support sustainable fishing, as well as our resource center for additional information and the latest news.

Marine Pollution

In case you missed our June newsletter, we focused it entirely on plastic pollution and how funders are working on Raising Awareness, Research, Regulation and Policy, Reducing and Recycling, and Restoring Oceans and Beaches.

Here are a couple more key resources:

Sustainable Blue Economy

According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem." They offer this interesting infographic depicting the crosscutting themes in this ecosystem. In 2017, the World Bank issued this report to suggest both a common understanding of the blue economy and highlight next steps in its implementation.

While we could only identify seven grants that specifically state that they are dedicated to the Blue Economy, we know that funders are active in fisheries, tourism, waste management, transportation, and climate change.

Also, be sure to check out the World Ocean Summit 2019 coming up March 5th–7th 2019 in Abu Dhabi. This conference will be focused on developing the most effective action to build a sustainable ocean economy.