Bezos Earth Fund Announces First Commitments to Marine Protection at UN Ocean Conference

Press Release

Looking up from the ocean floor there is a school of sharks surrounded by other small fish.
Photo credit: Enric Sala / National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas

The Bezos Earth Fund today announced its first investments dedicated explicitly to marine protection at the United Nations Ocean Conference, totaling $50 million in new grants. These grants further its commitment to the 30x30 initiative to protect 30% of the planet’s land and sea by 2030. Currently, only 7.93% of the ocean is zoned as marine protected areas.

The Bezos Earth Fund will provide grants totaling $30 million to support organizations working in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama in strengthening the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor. By creating a network of marine protected areas covering more than 500,000-square-kilometers (193,000-square-miles) and a transboundary biosphere reserve, the four countries’ biological hotspots will be connected and protected. These grants are provided alongside those of other members of the Connect to Protect Eastern Tropical Pacific Coalition. The coalition will work alongside governments, local communities, non-government organizations, and scientists to help establish a regional governance structure, design, and implement marine protected areas and the biosphere reserve, and secure long-term sustainable financing.

“The ocean is our planet’s life support system and a major carbon sink. Investing in the ocean can be a powerful solution to many major challenges. It can protect vital marine ecosystems, provide jobs, help local communities, improve food security, and address climate change. These commitments are the first of many the Bezos Earth Fund will make to support marine protection in this decisive decade.”
Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund

The Earth Fund’s $20 million grant to the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas will further advance the goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. With this support, the Pristine Seas team will explore, document, and conduct research in the central and western Pacific Ocean over the next five years. This region contains the highest marine biodiversity on the planet, most of which is unprotected from extractive activities.

“It is an honor to receive this grant. It provides us with an exciting opportunity to work with local partners to accelerate, scale, and finance permanent ocean protection,” said Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and founder of Pristine Seas. “This grant allows Pristine Seas to continue to provide countries and local communities with the assistance and support they need to create marine-protected areas and achieve their ocean conservation and economic goals.”

About the Bezos Earth Fund

The Bezos Earth Fund is transforming the fight against climate change with the largest ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. We’re investing $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and drive systems-level change, creating a just transition to a low-carbon economy. By providing funding and expertise, we partner with organizations to accelerate innovation, break down barriers to success and create a more equitable and sustainable world. Join us in our mission to create a world where people prosper in harmony with nature.

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