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The US pledges billions to protect the world’s oceans

The US pledges billions to protect the world’s oceans


John Kerry speaks during the 2023 Our Ocean Conference, in Panama City, Panama. Photo credit: Reuters / Aris Martinez.

By Anders Lorenzen

As a part of a landmark oceans agreement, the US has pledged $6 billion to protect oceans alongside tackling climate change.

Announced by US climate envoy John Kerry, the country’s commitment includes a total of 77 different commitments. $3 billion focuses on climate resilience and climate research which was part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by the US Congress last year, the State Department said. More than $665 million will go to sustainable fisheries and more than $200 will go to tackle marine pollution.

Of the 77 commitments, 30 directly target climate change; these amount to about $5 billion of the total funding.

Marine protection

Whilst $11 million does not sound like much compared to the full amount, the creation of the following marine protection projects could have immense impacts – $3 million has been committed in grants to enhance coral reef health and resilience, $1.9 million in grants to cooperative agreements to support coral reef conservation in the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, Micronesia, and Coral Triangle regions, support for the Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary, $6million for the Konservasi Laut Efektif (Effective Marine Conservation) to improve the management of national and provincial marine protected areas. In addition, the US government has endorsed the Ocean Conservation Pledge to conserve or protect at least 30% of ocean waters by 2030.

Same crises

Kerry commented: “The climate crisis and the ocean crisis are one and the same. We cannot fully address one without the other.”

Some of the commitments still require authorisation by the US Congress – the State Department has not shared details on which they are. The full level of US pledges can be viewed here.

Earlier this month, the European Union (EU) announced funding commitments worth $867,45 million. 

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