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Friday, May 24, 2024

Funders pledge $60.8m to protect the Mediterranean Sea

In a landmark move to safeguard the ecological integrity of the Mediterranean Sea, philanthropic organisations aim to contribute to the ambitious goal of protecting 30% of the Mediterranean by 2030, with 10% designated as strict protected areas.

Dona Bertarelli and HSH Prince Albert II
Dona Bertarelli and HSH Prince Albert II

To achieve this goal, an estimated $277 million is needed. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation together with other leading private and public donors¹ have pledged a total of $60.8 million towards marine conservation efforts over the next five years. They are joined in the effort to support “30×30” in the region by other prominent private donors. The announcement was made in the occasion of the Our Ocean Conference held in Athens, Greece from April 15 to 17, 2024.

The Mediterranean region, renowned for its rich marine biodiversity and status as a global hotspot for endemic species, is facing mounting threats from climate change, pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices. Despite efforts in the past, only 8.33% of the Mediterranean currently enjoys protection, with regulations often as weak inside marine protected areas (MPAs) as outside. Moreover, a mere 0.23% of the region is fully or highly protected.

Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, the funders emphasise the need for decisive action to preserve the Mediterranean’s fragile ecosystems. This includes phasing out destructive activities like bottom trawling and strengthening the management of existing marine protected areas, such as the Pelagos Sanctuary, which constitutes nearly half of the region’s protected marine space.

The substantial financial commitment from both private and public donors underscores a collective determination to address the pressing conservation challenges facing the Mediterranean Sea. It is hoped that this collaboration will inspire further support from additional donors and partners to join the effort in protecting one of the world’s most vital marine ecosystems.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “Efforts to protect the Mediterranean Sea have grown over the years, but not fast enough. Last year, countries committed to achieving the global 30×30 target. Urgent action is needed at all levels if we are to meet this ambitious target. With this pledge, private and public donors call upon others to join the effort. We are committed to push for an effective 30% protection by 2030, including 10% strict protection.”

Ben Goldsmith, Conservation Collective chair and founder, said: “We’re excited to see our budget for marine protection projects across the Conservation Collective network in the Mediterranean grow year on year. There’s so much to do, and nothing more rewarding than seeing effectively managed MPAs breathe life back into this magical sea.”

Dona Bertarelli, Philanthropist, IUCN Patron of Nature and Ocean Advocate, said: “I am proud to be part of a collective effort to expand the protection of the Mediterranean, a region of immense ecological significance and rich biodiversity. With the introduction of the 30×30 funding pledge, we are united in our goal to ensure that 30% of the Mediterranean is effectively preserved. This commitment is built on the principles of inclusive decision-making and empowering local communities, which are crucial for the sustainable future of the Mediterranean Sea.

“By channeling increased financial resources into marine protection, we are investing in robust positive nature conservation initiatives that safeguard both biodiversity and local livelihoods. I am hopeful that our collaborative approach will inspire global efforts and serve as a model for protecting invaluable natural resources for generations to come.”

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