German activities

Marine conservation and sustainable use of the oceans

Atlantic ocean wave

Over two thirds of the partner countries where Germany is engaged in a range of development cooperation activities are island or coastal states. Well over half of the world’s population is already living in coastal regions; in 2020 that figure will probably have risen to nearly two thirds. The BMZ has drawn up a Ten-point Plan of Action, published in 2016, with the title "Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries". The Plan sets out how the BMZ is stepping up its engagement in activities aimed at conserving marine and coastal habitats for future generations so that they can be used sustainably.

The German programmes have a focus on preserving biological diversity and ecosystem services in marine and coastal protected areas, sustainable use of the oceans for food and nutrition security, reducing marine pollution, and supporting climate change adaptation in order to protect people living in coastal regions. Currently, projects with an overall funding volume of more than 400 million Euros are supporting the 10-point plan’s implementation.

More, better managed marine and coastal protected areas

Between 2015 and 2020, the BMZ will massively increase the overall total of marine protected areas that it is helping to support. The BMZ will do this by supporting the designation of new protected areas, strengthening the administrations of the protected areas and improving their financial security through sustainable financing instruments. An important aspect in all of this is ensuring the balance of interests between protection and use, and making sure that sufficient attention is paid to the rights and needs of women and girls, indigenous and local communities, and poor and especially vulnerable people. The BMZ is thus helping to ensure that the target under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 2030 Agenda, that at least 10 per cent of marine areas worldwide will be effectively protected by 2020, is achieved. Right now only 5.3 per cent of these areas are protected.

The Blue Action Fund – a trust fund dedicated to marine conservation

In order to establish marine conservation networks and secure their sustainable financial administration, at the end of 2016 the BMZ, in cooperation with KfW Entwicklungsbank, founded the Blue Action Fund, with an endowment of 24 million euros. In September 2017, Sweden joined the Fund. The Blue Action Fund supports the work being done by national and international non-governmental organisations in connection with coastal and marine conservation, and promotes

  • the conservation of marine biodiversity through the designation of new protected areas and the better management of existing areas, and also
  • the sustainable use of marine biodiversity in connection with fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

Making sustainable use of the oceans for food and nutrition security

Worldwide, 17 per cent of animal protein needs are covered by fish, with substantially higher rates in many developing countries.  90 per cent of global fish stocks have however already been overfished or exploited up to their limits. The impacts of climate change on the oceans will exacerbate this situation, especially in developing countries. The projected loss in fisheries revenues as a result of rising sea temperatures is somewhere between 6 and 15 billion US dollars a year; tropical waters will be particularly affected.

The BMZ supports sustainable artisanal fisheries and aquaculture, alongside sustainable and socially responsible processing and marketing of fish. The activities in which the BMZ is engaged also include measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Supporting adaptation to climate change

Climate change is responsible, among other things, for the increase in the frequency and the intensity of storms and flooding, increased salination of soils and the rise in sea levels. More than 600 million people live in low-lying coastal zones and are directly affected by these phenomena. Early warning systems are an effective way of reducing the harm to the population and to infrastructure as a result of climate change. With the support of the scientific community, the BMZ is helping with the further development of early warning systems in combination with coastal protection and urban development programmes, and is spearheading efforts to integrate flood control and disaster risk reduction into development planning.

Healthy mangrove ecosystems can slow down tidal waves and thus reduce the negative impacts of storms and of rising sea levels. People in developing countries who live near the coast are dependent on intact mangrove ecosystems. At the same time, mangroves play a part in mitigating climate change by binding carbon dioxide.

"Save our Mangroves now!"

Together with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the BMZ launched the initiative "Save our mangroves now!" The aim of the initiative is to halt the progressive loss of mangroves. Therefore, successful mangrove conservation and restoration projects are scaled up, awareness of mangroves’ high importance is strengthened in the international community. 

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