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Oceans under pressure

Development Minister Müller unveils marine conservation initiatives

Presentation of the Blue Action Fund, an initiative for marine and coastal protection by the German Federal Ministry for Development (BMZ)

Press release of 29.05.2017 |

BERLIN – Pollution, overfishing and climate change are increasing the pressure on our oceans and threatening the livelihoods of millions of people, particularly in developing countries. Many small island states are already being hit by flooding, with horrific consequences for the people there. It is against this background that German Development Minister Gerd Müller today launched two marine protection initiatives, the Blue Action Fund and the Save Our Mangroves Now initiative.

Minister Müller said, "Business as usual is not an option. The oceans are on the brink of collapse – and, without them, life as we know it cannot go on."

The Blue Action Fund launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is an innovative fund for marine and coastal conservation. Funding will initially amount to 24 million euros. The Fund is aimed at non-governmental organisations involved in marine and coastal conservation. The first projects to be funded will be mainly in Africa, Latin America and small island states.

The second initiative targets a very special coastal ecosystem, namely mangrove forests. Already, 35 per cent of the world's mangroves have been lost. And yet they are vitally important for the climate, biodiversity and food. They absorb between three and five times more CO2 emissions than forests on land and provide a natural protective barrier against storm tides and tsunamis. The BMZ has therefore now launched a mobilisation campaign with the WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources to raise awareness of this important topic.

The new initiatives are a further step in the Ministry's implementation of its 10-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries. Minister Müller presented the plan, which has funding of 500 million euros, last May in the German city of Kiel.  

The topics of coastal and marine conservation will also be the focus of the UN Ocean Conference, which is taking place from 5 to 9 June in New York and will be chaired by Fiji and Sweden.

Link to the Blue Action Fund launched by the BMZ: www.blueactionfund.org

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