Blue Planet Fund delivers first multimillion boost for global ocean recovery

The UK government has announced the first set of programmes to receive funding from the £500m Blue Planet Fund launched by the Prime Minister at the G7 summit.

The programmes, financed from the UK’s overseas aid budget, will increase marine protection, tackle plastic pollution and the decline of global coral reefs, as well as using the UK’s world-leading expertise to help respond to marine pollution disasters such as the Xpress Pearl in Sri Lanka.

The £16.2m will be supporting:
– A new UK-led Ocean Country Partnership Programme, to tackle marine pollution at its source, create well-managed marine protected areas, and make aquaculture more sustainable by helping developing countries partner with and access the UK’s world-leading ocean science expertise
– The Global Fund for Coral Reefs, to help developing countries within the Caribbean, India Ocean, Pacific and Southeast Asia prevent the extinction of vital coral reefs
– The Global Plastic Action Partnership, to tackle the scourge of plastic waste before it enters the ocean
– The Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, to help developing countries fund coastal nature-based solutions to tackle climate change
– The Global Ocean Accounts Partnership, to help developing countries calculate and account for the value that a healthy ocean brings to their economies.

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:

“The UK is a global leader in marine protection and will continue to advocate for ambitious climate and ocean action at COP26 this year. Our shared ocean is a vital resource and provides habitat to precious marine life, as well as supporting the livelihoods of one in every ten people worldwide.

“The Blue Planet Fund will support many developing countries on the front line of climate change to reduce poverty and improve the health of their seas.”

The projects receiving funding include the launch of a new UK-led programme – the Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) – which will help developing countries partner with the UK’s world-leading scientists to better manage marine protected areas, and improve our understanding of the impacts of climate change and contaminants in the ocean.

The UK is also leading calls for a new global ‘30by30’ target to protect at least 30% of the land and at least 30% of the ocean by 2030. Over eighty countries now support the marine protection target, and the Blue Planet Fund will help make sure that 30by30 becomes a reality.

Charlotte Briggs, Clarity Environmental Policy and Engagement Lead, said: “We are four years on from the airing of Blue Planet II on our screens, which provided a stark portrait of the impact that plastic waste was having on our oceans. The response was significant, with rapidly changing consumer habits, retailers racing to join the war against plastic, and the government placing plastic pollution reduction as a key objective of its 25-year plan for the environment.

“Whilst many brands continue to navigate through the complex issues around plastic packaging, it is positive to see that government funding is being used to tackle some of the global problems affecting our oceans. This also helps raise the profile of the wider issues around climate change that must be at the forefront of those decisions being taken by businesses today as they consider the options for sustainable and cost-effective packaging moving forward.”

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