Ocean and island ecosystems are essential for global biodiversity and the sustained livelihood of humankind, but climate change, overfishing, and habitat destruction threaten these spaces and the provision of the vital ecosystem services they provide. Despite the increasing vulnerability of these ecosystems, we know from success stories around the world that urgent and deliberate action could mitigate harm and even produce benefits that can help bring prosperity to the sustainable blue economy.
Effective action will require that innovative conservation strategies be developed and expeditiously implemented. This will require massive investment in ocean conservation, likely orders of magnitude larger than the current annual spending in this sector of approximately $1.3 billion. Philanthropy has supplied much of this funding to date and will continue to play an essential role in developing and piloting solutions, but restoring ocean health and resilience will require more resources than are available in the philanthropic sector alone. In order to radically increase available funding to the estimated $20 billion/year necessary to execute urgent conservation action, alternative conservation financing mechanisms must be identified and established.