New Delhi: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with four partner agencies, has been tasked to help countries curb land-based pollution of coastal environments and Large Marine Ecosystems.
Under the “Clean and Healthy Oceans Integrated Program” a source-to-sea initiative that will direct up to $115 million grants to curb the land based pollution.
The decision was made at the 64th Council Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health.
As per the official statement, FAO will co-lead the program together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), in a strategic partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO).
According to UN Oceans have lost nearly 2 percent of their oxygen since the 1950s, resulting in “dead zones” – known as hypoxia – that cannot support marine life.
“Together, we can turn the tide on pollution for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” said FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu.
Oceans face serious sustainability problems, mostly caused, and accelerated by climate change, such as increasingly acidic and warmer waters, rising sea levels and overexploitation of marine stocks”, said Executive President of CAF, Sergio Díaz-Granados.
“This financing reaffirms the multilateral commitment to lead the fight against climate change and promote the development of the blue economy,”
Pollution from land-based sources, including the overuse of fertilizer, organic waste from livestock, and untreated municipal and industrial wastewater, typically drive hypoxia worldwide.
Land-based pollution puts marine biodiversity, ecosystems, coastal economies and industries reliant on fisheries and the oceans’ resources at risk.
Under long-term hypoxia, coral reefs may experience mass mortalities, valuable coastal fish species migrate of higher oxygen areas, and the growth and reproduction rates of many marine species plummet.
The Clean and Healthy Oceans Integrated Program aims to curb land-based pollution of oceans through policy and regulatory innovation, infrastructure investments, and nature-based solutions.
It will also map land-based sources of ocean pollution to better understand the impacts on hypoxia and apply ocean science to develop solutions that improve human and ocean health.
Specifically, the program aims to improve sustainable practices on 200,000 hectares of landscapes and 14.3 million hectares of marine habitats (an area roughly the size of all of Thailand’s cultivable land).
Additional aims include reducing pollution and improving management in more than three Large Marine Ecosystems and mitigating 5.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
This is the first time that FAO, ADB, CAF, EBRD and IOC-UNESCO have teamed up under one program to deliver global environmental benefits.