UK Environment secretary calls on all members of the UN to help in the protection of marine habitats

UK Environment secretary calls on all members of the UN to help in the protection of marine habitats

On World Wildlife Day, the Environment Secretary of the UK, Thérèse Coffey, has called on countries to work together to protect and restore nature on land and sea. Following the UN Biodiversity summit agreement, Coffey is attending the Our Ocean conference, where she will work with other countries to halt and reverse the loss of nature and protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.
The UK is already helping to protect and restore marine habitats, such as coral reefs.

The UK is also announcing vital funding this week to boost marine conservation efforts worldwide, fight climate change, and support vulnerable coastal communities. The country has renewed support through its £500 million Blue Planet Fund to protect and restore vital marine habitats, such as mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrasses that play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

This includes an additional £24 million to the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, and the UK becoming the first donor to the Blue Carbon Action Partnership, committing £4 million to support countries unlock and mobilise finance to protect and restore blue carbon ecosystems.

The Environment Secretary has also announced £45 million to the new ‘Blue Tech Superhighway’ project, which will encourage collaboration between countries across Asia and Africa to scale action, such as community-led fisheries management, new seawater farming systems, and approaches to reduce food waste. The project will support small-scale fishers and aquaculture farmers to improve their climate resilience, sustainability, and incomes.

Coffey also urged more countries to join forces to tackle the scourge of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, which is one of the most serious threats to the world’s ocean. She urged countries to deliver coordinated, impactful action on the ground to address IUU fishing, which undermines efforts to conserve fish stocks, damages marine ecosystems, impacts global food supply chains and threatens coastal communities whose livelihoods rely on sustainable fishing.

The UK, US, and Canada launched the world’s first global alliance to tackle IUU fishing last year, with members sharing data and tools to monitor and crack down on this pervasive issue. This builds on progress under the UK-led Blue Belt Ocean Shield programme, which uses innovative surveillance techniques to tackle illegal practices in over 4.3 million square kilometres of waters around the UK Overseas Territories.

The Alliance has grown to 16 members, with Norway, Iceland, and Korea recently coming onboard, and more members are expected to sign up at the Our Ocean conference, including the EU, Panama, and New Zealand.

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