Ocean Action Hub

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1 Aug 2018 - The GEF Humboldt project, implemented by the Government of Peru with UNDP support, promotes sustainable management of our ocean using an ecosystem management approach.

With this objective, its interventions range from reform of public policies, through to pilot projects to strengthen capacity and eliminate wasteful practices. One such pilot is currently generating a virtuous cycle in Pisco, to the south of Lima, through the promotion of fishing company certification in accordance with international standards for sustainable marine resource management.

One of these companies—aiming to become the first exporter of certified anchovy to the European market—assigns the initial processing phase to small female-headed businesses. This is generating a positive indirect effect on the local economy.

Understanding our ocean´s richness means also understanding its social impact: the fishing industry employs 250 thousand people along the Peruvian coast, the majority of whom are women. The activity of Ruth Jurado’s small business―which provides employment to some seventy women—coincides perfectly with Sustainable Development Goal 5, which aims for the full and effective participation by women, and equality of opportunity for leadership at all decision-making levels in political, economic, and public life.

“We have young women, many of them mothers, who support themselves with the income they earn here. But we also have older women who would not find work elsewhere”, says Jurado, whose plant is located on a large site and has been constructed in accordance with the strict rules of the target market for this product—the European Union. In other words, cleanliness and order are fundamental aspects of the daily work.

Advantages of working in the processing plant include the fact that the labor is not heavy and that income is linked to productivity. The hours are another advantage: work begins early and finishes before lunchtime. This enables the women to look after their children when school finishes.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://pnudperu.exposure.co/women-of-the-sea

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Timor-Leste a mecca for whales, but they face threats - The Guardian
31 Jul 2018 - Managed properly, whale tourism could generate significant income for Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest – and poorest – nations.

31 Jul 2018 - THE GUARDIAN, UK - Olive Andrews believes Timor Leste could be one of the best destinations in the world for whale watching. The research scientist with a particular interest in cetaceans drew this conclusion when she joined a survey team assessing the coastal waters north of Timor-Leste in October 2016. “I’ve never seen such a biomass of cetaceans in such a small geography,” she says. “We encountered 2287 cetaceans from 11 species, including superpods of up to 600 individuals.”

There are 90 distinct species of cetacean – and at least 30 of them occur in Timor-Leste. These include both local populations like melon-headed whales and spinner dolphins, and migratory species such as humpbacks and pygmy blue whales. Managed properly, whale tourism could generate significant income for Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest – and poorest – nations.

Globally, whale watching is booming. According to Andrews whale tourism contributes around US$30m a year to the Pacific Islands group. Without it, countries like Tonga – famed for the humpbacks that congregate there to mate and nurse – could revert to whaling, which was practiced there on a small scale until as late as 1978.

It’s not just the quantity and diversity of whales in its territorial waters that make Timor-Leste so unique; it’s their proximity to the land. Geologically, Timor-Leste and its much smaller sister island Atauro are distinguished by the fact that neither was ever attached to a landmass – they were pushed above the ocean’s surface by tectonic activity. As a result, their reefs rarely stretch beyond 250 metres from shore before plunging to much greater depths. 

“Pygmy blue whales heading south towards Australia will hang out at a 200m depth contour right off the north coast of Timor; you can literally see them from the beach,” says Andrews.

This is because Timor-Leste lies in the middle of the Indonesian throughflow, where the waters of the Indian and Pacific Ocean collide, causing upwellings of nutrient-rich deep ocean water. The resulting mini-ecosystem is abundant in squid, making it an ideal feeding ground for whales. 

But the local whale population faces a number of threats. Timor-Leste is seeking to establish itself both politically and economically following a decades-long conflict with its former coloniser Indonesia, which only came to an end in 2002. Illegal fishing from neighbouring countries is rife and the tiny nation doesn’t yet have the resources to prevent it. Besides a single patrol boat there is no monitoring system to identify shipping in its territorial waters. Whales are getting tangled in vast ghost nets that drift all the way down to the Australian coast. According to Andrews, these intruders aren’t just artisanal fishers, but entire fishing fleets.

Timor-Leste’s ability to enforce fisheries legislation is questionable too. In September last year, ocean activists Sea Shepherd alerted Timor-Leste police to a Chinese fishing fleet illegally catching thousands of sharks. But Australia’s ABC News reported last month that after a nine-month investigation, the fleet had paid a one-off fine of $100,000 to go free, allegedly with its catch – estimated to be worth millions of dollars – intact. 

Resource extraction and infrastructure projects also present challenges. French company Bolloré Group has entered a public-private partnership to build a US$490m deep-water port west of the capital Dili. While an environmental impact assessment has been carried out, environmental NGO Conservation International has concerns about increases in shipping traffic and the dumping of dredged materials in whale feeding grounds. 

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2018/jul/31/timor-leste-a-mecca-for-whales-but-they-face-threats

Photograph: Grant Abel/Conservation International

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One man's quest to lead his village in Papua New Guinea to adapt to climate change
26 Jul 2018 - On World Mangrove Day, meet Alfred, an environmental activist whose team restored a mangrove forest by replanting 60,300 seedlings.

26 Jul 2018 - Alfred Masul is a conservation evangelist in his community located on the remote northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Well known for leading the charge in environmental rehabilitation, Alfred is restoring an ecosystem and promoting a sustainable path for his family and his community.

In Numuru Village, where Alfred is elder of the clan made up of his siblings, cousins, and children, dwellings are arrayed along their 3km of coastline.

After a bad flood about 10 years ago that caused massive damage and required the community to move further inland, Alfred started planting mangroves.

Working in the nearby secondary school, Alfred was a teacher’s aide and oversaw science exams. Sensitised to conservation, Alfred wanted to stop the excessive cutting of mangroves and work to rehabilitate their terrestrial and marine environments. Alfred believes:

‘The future is on your head’.


Alfred’s village is in Madang province, known for some of the highest mountain ranges in PNG, with correspondingly large valleys, coastal strips, volcanic islands, and atolls. In Numuru, the main crops are betel nut, copra, cocoa, and subsistence staples like sweet potato.

Many villagers are fishermen, which provides food and income.

The main climate change effects experienced in the area are inland flooding and coastal erosion. In 2015, a prolonged drought destroyed food gardens, in turn increasing dependence on rapidly depleting fish stocks.

In addition to overfishing pressures, and in a changing climate, warmer water = less dissolved oxygen; less dissolved oxygen = smaller fish.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://undp-adaptation.exposure.co/no-ordinary-man

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Meet the woman creating jobs in Mongolia to beat plastic pollution

25 Jul 2018 - Ulzii and other women living nearby support themselves by making brooms and household furniture such as chairs and sofas from plastic litter that they collect in the streets.

25 Jul 2018 - As we roamed through the “ger district” in Yaarmag, I noticed the unusual cleanliness of the area, compared to other similar districts we know near Ulaanbaatar. The usual scenes of vodka bottles, cigarette butts, soiled diapers, plastic bottles and aluminum cans are nowhere to be seen here.

The sprawling residential area consists of parcels of land with one or more detached houses or gers — Mongolian traditional dwelling known as yurts in some countries, surrounded by two-metre high wooden fences.

“We might have cleaned the streets off as we pick the plastic bottles up for our projects,” laughs 56-year-old Ulziisaikhan as she welcomes us outside her home.

Ulzii and other women living nearby support themselves by making brooms and household furniture such as chairs and sofas from plastic litter that they collect in the streets.

“When you are young and able, being unemployed is not the end of the world. You know that you will figure it out somehow. But when you are in your 50s and unemployed, that is pretty much it. No one will want to hire you at this age,” Ulzii says.

As we enter the small ger, we find a group of four women including Ulzii, absorbed in their work. This ger serves as their production plant. Plastic bottles, their main supplies, are stacked up on the left side of the ger. Bottles are washed here and labels are removed to make the raw materials for the sofas and chairs. Ulzii and her friends try to collect the plastic bottles in the streets themselves, but nowadays people also bring them the supplies, charging a fair price.

Of the 1.5 million tonnes of garbage that is produced annually in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, only 24 percent is recycled. The number is even smaller when it comes to recycling the 69,000 tonnes of the plastic garbage the city produces annually.

Up until January of 2018, the city used to ship 20,000 tonnes of plastics to China for recycling every year. But this is banned now from China’s side as part of their new regulation. Without a proper recycling facility and a landfill, Mongolia is unsure where to keep the plastic recyclables or what to do with them.

Social entrepreneurs like Ulzii and her friends aren’t waiting around for an official plan. They participated in a training offered by UNDP Mongolia back in 2014 that aimed to improve the livelihoods of rural Mongolians who migrated to the city after losing their livestock in the countryside due to a particularly harsh winter.

“With the support from the UNDP Innovation Facility, we wanted to give them the opportunity to create jobs whilst addressing a common environmental issue in Mongolia — littering,” explains Galaariidii Galindev, coordinator of the “Turning Garbage into Gold” project.

Ulzii and her friends received a start-up kit with basic equipment to set up their businesses. In addition to the in-class training that included workshops on writing a project proposal and designing a business model, the group also received mattresses, linings and other necessary supplies and tools for an immediate start of production.

Over the course of several months, the UNDP Mongolia team followed up with the entrepreneurs to assess the impact and sustainability of their activities, and to help them improve with a view towards becoming independent. Ulzii and her team succeeded and now receive frequent orders, including a recent order of 24 chairs and a conference table from one of Mongolia’s major companies. Trained to create simple designs initially, the hardworking women have since begun developing new designs based on their imaginations and the clients’ demand.

They not only built a business for themselves but also helped set up another group in the neighbourhood made up entirely of people with disabilities.

“Involving people with disabilities is a great example of social inclusion and we did not expect this much of social responsibility coming from a tiny project unit,” Galaariidii says.

In Mongolia, 80 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed. Often marginalized, they face strong stigma from potential employers. Although there is a legal provision encouraging companies to hire people with disabilities, most companies choose to pay a monetary fine.

The broader picture

UNDP Mongolia has been actively promoting the reduce, reuse, recycle principle for years. Ulzii’s story is one of our earliest examples in the global fight against plastic pollution, but the determination has revived this year with our latest campaign #NoPlasticChallenge, which started in March.

Throughout the campaign, some 25 organizations including the US Embassy, local start-ups, banks and coffee shop chains joined the challenge to raise awareness about our excessive use of plastics and the means for reducing it. Hundreds of thousands of Mongolians were engaged online through social media campaigns.

Inspired by the online success, the organizations conducted an eco-bag workshop and trainings on ways to reduce single-use plastics. Coffee shops introduced discounts for customers who brought their own mugs, and we’re already seeing an increase in the number of people who carry reusable grocery bags to their local shops.

Mongolia seems to realize that reducing and reusing are the only ways to beat plastic pollution in the absence of recycling for the time being.

CONTINUE READING: https://medium.com/@UNDP/meet-the-woman-creating-jobs-in-mongolia-to-bea...

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Fish for dinner? See how #blockchain is used to ensure sustainable fisheries.
20 Jul 2018 - Blockchain is one of many ways innovation and technology is being harnessed for social good.

20 Jul 2018 - Blockchain is one of many ways innovation and technology is being harnessed for social good.

As is usually the case with disruptive new technology, blockchain comes with a lot of hype. While its best-known application, bitcoin, divides opinion and makes banks and governments nervous, the technology may have great potential to advance social good.

Serving the underserved
Fintech companies across the globe are using blockchain to improve financial systems and redefine how businesses and individuals make payments. Coins.ph operates out of the Philippines, where transferring money electronically is very popular but can be expensive. The company built a mobile app that runs on blockchain technology and allows cheaper, quicker and more direct fund transfers for those with limited access to formal banking. Users can open an account simply by inputting a phone number and digitally verifying their identity. Transactions are settled instantaneously and at a fraction of the fees charged by traditional banks. This translates into increased disposable income, better resilience to economic shocks, and wider participation of the most vulnerable populations in the financial system.

Like Coins.ph in the Philippines, Kenya’s BitPesa, Mexico’s Bitso, India’s Unocoin and others are using blockchain to expedite cross-border payments, establish new types of digital wallets and allow peer-to-peer payments with digital currencies for previously unconnected people and markets.

As both a database and infrastructure that enables the secure transfer and recording of assets independently of central banks, blockchain is believed to be the most decentralized and secure digital protocol to date, and its market is expected to grow to at least US$2.3 billion by 2021. It’s catching people’s attention across all sectors, and “inclusive business” – for-profit ventures that engage low-income populations as customers or owners – is no exception.

As well as making financial products more inclusive, blockchain is giving people digital identities and revolutionizing personal data management. This is most profound for millions of individuals with no formal economic identity, as well as refugees.

BanQu, a start-up from the United States, is using blockchain technology to create secure and verified IDs for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Through the BanQu app that runs on any mobile phone, an individual can build his or her online profile through facial and voice recognition and start tracking everything from educational qualifications to transaction history. Over time, users build up a financial ID, eventually being able to open bank accounts, own property and access healthcare and other basic services.

Supply chains

Another sector where blockchain has particularly far-reaching potential is global supply chains. With its unique capacity to transfer, record and monitor assets in a virtual space at a low cost, blockchain is well suited to respond to the challenges of supply chains, such as:

  • Evening the playing field. It seamlessly integrates all supply chain players into one system and serves as a single electronic house for an infinite amount of documentation. As traditional costs and barriers to enter are eliminated, even the smallest producers and suppliers have equal footing.
  • Responsible sourcing. It provides a platform for transparent procurement in which every market participant can verify sourcing and compliance in line with existing regulations and good environmental, social and governance standards.

Provenance, a London-based startup, has successfully tested blockchain technology on the Indonesian tuna supply chain (one of the most controversial in the world). Fishermen sent an SMS after every catch giving it a digital identity at the point of origin. A digital ID code enabled tracking at every step of the journey, with new information added along the way, until the fish reached Japanese restaurants. Scaled further, the revolutionary technology can verify ethical claims and help enforce labour and environmental standards in the private sector.

Smart and efficient. Blockchain’s use of smart contracts eliminates fraud, avoids intermediaries, and saves costs and time. It enables users to carry out all contract conditions and functions automatically, as programmed. For example, it could guarantee the delivery of a certain good or service only once the payment is received. If there is a delay, the smart contract will prompt a response. For the most vulnerable supply chain actors, this is revolutionary, because such contracts prevent tampering and help ensure fair treatment.

Blockchain technology can contribute to the achievement of the 17 Global Goals for sustainable development – to end poverty, protect the planet and empower women and men by 2030 – in line with the aims of inclusive businesses. Furthermore, its integration in global supply chains is directly linked to responsible consumption and production, innovation and the elimination of hunger. The application of blockchain technology is expected to inch into areas not previously thought possible – from the digitization of governments’ key functions to transforming healthcare by reducing barriers to accessing services for the underserved.

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/realizing-the-potential-of-blockchain-for-social-impact.html

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Seas the day
11 Jul 2018 - The story of a Sri Lankan snorkeler and how her passion to protect the ocean has become her livelihood.

11 Jul 2018The story of a snorkeler and her passion to protect the ocean.

Niluka Damayanthi is up at 2.00 a.m. each day to prepare for the long day ahead. This entails cooking for her household which include her mother, husband and children, while also preparing snack boxes for the snorkelers or divers she would be accompanying for the day. As one of the two female snorkelers at the Kalpitiya Diving Centre, Niluka never imagined that she would turn her love for the ocean into her occupation.

Kalpitiya is now an attractive tourist destination in the country, with its rich marine sanctuaries and diverse range of habitats which range from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves, swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. These provide breeding grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. It also is home to spinner, bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and even the elusive dugong.


Becoming a diving instructor was no easy task for Niluka. Her husband Samith, who earned the license early on, encouraged her to follow her passion and was her main support system. She underwent training for swimming, underwater skills and techniques, safety rules and theoretically understanding the ocean current after which she was able to get her license. Together with Samith, she now accompanies tourist groups which consist of 6-9 persons daily during the peak tourist season which is usually from September to April each year. Foreign and local tourists are charged $85 each for the training, diving session and snack box she prepares. In recent years, there has been a steady increase in local tourists, which has helped them to create their own website and be rated on popular travel sites. She reminisces of the time when the Kalpitiya Bar Reef was a colourful and vibrant tourist attraction. Niluka describes it as “a dive into a whole new world!”

Samith, started diving and snorkeling at the age of 13, and has seen the bar reef in its heyday in all its splendor. Due to human activities such as over fishing, dynamite fishing and high speed boats, the coral reef has gradually deteriorated over the years and has lost its beauty. Now almost 24 years later, they’re working together with local authorities and UNDP to bring this natural ecosystem back to life.


In October 2015, UNDP Sri Lanka together with the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment initiated the ‘Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustenance of Ecosystem Services in Environmentally Sensitive Areas’ (ESA) project to address these issues. Though Sri Lanka has instituted a national system of Protected Areas (PAs) to safeguard its biodiversity, many of the globally important ecosystems, habitats and species continued to remain outside protected areas and face accelerated threats.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://undpsrilanka.exposure.co/seas-the-day

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New UN report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

10 Jul 2018  - Fish account for about 17 per cent of animal protein consumed globally, providing around 3.2 billion people with nearly 20 per cent of their animal protein needs.

10 Jul 2018  - The vital role that fishing and fish-farming play in supporting some of the poorest families across the world, came under the spotlight on Monday with the publication of the annual United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report on the global industry.

According to the latest State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report, nearly 60 million people worldwide – 14 per cent of them women – are directly employed in fisheries and the aquaculture sector.

"The fisheries sector is crucial in meeting FAO's goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition, and its contribution to economic growth and the fight against poverty, is growing," said José Graziano da Silva, FAO’s Director-General.

Fish account for about 17 per cent of animal protein consumed around the world, providing around 3.2 billion people on earth with nearly 20 per cent of their animal protein needs.

Moreover, fish represent a highly nutritious food that is especially helpful in counteracting important deficiencies in dietary intake.

The report indicates that global fish production will continue to grow over the next ten years even though the amount of fish being captured in the wild has levelled off and aquaculture is slowing down.

The fisheries sector is crucial in meeting FAO's goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition - FAO chief, José Graziano da Silva

By 2030, it’s estimated that fish production will grow to 201 million tonnes; an 18 per cent increase over the current production level of 171 million tonnes.

Global trends can mask the large contribution fish often make as part of the basic diet in poorer countries, however. For example, in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Gambia, Sri Lanka and some small island development states, fish make up fifty per cent or more, of people's protein intake.

"The sector is not without its challenges, however, including the need to reduce the percentage of fish stocks fished beyond biological sustainability," Mr. da Silva continued.

In 2016, 90.9 million tonnes of fish were captured in the wild – a slight decrease of two million from 2015 - and aquaculture production (which entails farming aquatic organisms as well as managing ocean habitats and wild populations), reached 80 million tonnes, providing 53 per cent of all fish consumed by humans as food.

According to this latest FAO report, the amount of crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic animals being consumed, is just over double the amount per person, back in the 1960s. FAO attributes this to increased aquaculture production, a sector that expanded rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s.

"Since 1961 the annual global growth in fish consumption has been twice as high as population growth,” said Mr. da Silva, highlighting again the importance of this to combating world hunger.

But FAO said that future growth across the industry will require continued progress in strengthening fisheries management regimes, reducing loss and waste, and tackling problems like illegal fishing, pollution of aquatic environments, and climate change, the report added.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/07/1014222

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Cleaning the seas, one dive at a time
9 Jul 2018 - How young scuba divers in coastal Maharashtra, India, are bridging the divide between conservation and livelihoods.

9 Jul 2018 - How young scuba divers in coastal Maharashtra, India, are bridging the divide between conservation and livelihoods

People and the sea coexist in happy harmony near the blue waters of Sindhudurg, Maharashtra, in western India. Fishermen set sail for the day’s catch as the sun gleams on the calm waters. Dolphins surface in the distance while a tour group peers to get a glimpse. The relationship between people and the sea features in myth and legend, art and literature.

Along the fishing district of Sindhudurg, thousands of people look to the sea for sustenance and livelihoods. The great majority depend on the coast for food and jobs in fishing and in tourism. But they know now that the bounty of the sea is not unending. The ecosystem, and their livelihoods, are under threat from unsustainable fishing by trawlers, an expanding tourism sector, and pollution from fishing vessels and other maritime traffic.

For 30-year-old diver Bhushan Juwatkar and his friends, this as an opportunity to do their part in preserving their ecosystem – and their way of life. Bhushan and seven of his friends from the local fishing community in Malvan knew for years that abandoned fishing nets were washed ashore along the coast and abandoned on the seabed. They didn’t do anything about it until they became certified scuba divers. These young men not only spent their mandated underwater post-certification diving hours removing ghost nets, but have now been inspired to continue the cleaning activity well beyond the training.

Their primary occupation, like of most others in the village, is fishing. “We have been fishermen most of our lives. When we saw a call for interest in the diving programme, we jumped at the opportunity. The fact that it was partially funded made all the difference. We would not have been able to bear the entire cost and would not have had this opportunity without the project’s support,” says Prashant.

In 2016, through an intervention by the Government of India in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, supported by the Global Environment Facility, 20 young fishermen like Bhushan and Prashant were trained in scuba diving to strengthen their connection to marine biodiversity conservation and provide an additional livelihood opportunity as diving guides for tourists. “We became more aware of the harmful effects of ghost nets and marine waste during the training. As fishermen, we too have undertaken harmful practices like discarding torn nets in the sea (ghost nets). But we were not aware that marine animals can get stuck in these nets and that the practice harms marine life,” says Bhushan.

The intervention also increased awareness about sustainable tourism practices, including conservation of corals. Sindhudurg is home to one of the few areas in India with corals. Untrained guides carelessly throw anchors over coral patches and let tourists break off coral pieces as souvenirs, causing degradation of these beautiful and delicate underwater ecosystems. Realizing the importance of corals, Bhushan says, “We didn’t make the corals, we don’t have the right to destroy them. We need the corals to attract tourists, so it is in our interest to protect them.”

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.in.undp.org/content/india/en/home/climate-and-disaster-reslience/successstories/cleaning-the-seas--one-dive-at-a-time.html


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UNDP and partners announce fund to tackle crisis in wildlife conservation
3 Jul 2018 - The Lion’s Share fund will see partners contribute 0.5 percent of their media spend to support wildlife - including marine life - around the world. 

3 Jul 2018 - CANNES – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), FINCH and founding partner Mars, Incorporated today announced an initiative aimed at transforming the lives of animals across the world by asking advertisers to contribute a percentage of their media spend to conservation and animal welfare projects.

The initiative, a fund called The Lion’s Share, will see partners contribute 0.5 percent of their media spend to the fund for each advertisement they use featuring an animal. Those funds will be used to support animals and their habitats around the world. Mars is the first advertising partner in The Lion’s Share.

“Animals are in 20 percent of all advertisements we see. Yet, they do not always receive the support they deserve. Until now.” said Lion’s Share Special Ambassador Sir David Attenborough.

“The Lion’s Share shows that by making a small difference today, we have an opportunity to make an unprecedented difference tomorrow,” Sir David added.

The Fund, which will be hosted by UNDP, is seeking to raise $100m a year within three years, with the money being invested in a range of wildlife conservation and animal welfare programs to be implemented by United Nations and civil society organizations. Other partners include advertising network BBDO and leading measurement company Nielsen.

The Lion’s Share will work to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN’s universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet. Supporting animals and helping to conserve their habitats is key to achieving Goal 14, Life Underwater, and Goal 15, Life on Land.

“It is our responsibility as humans to safeguard all life on our planet,” said actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who kicked off The Lion’s Share fund’s launch in Cannes with an on-stage interview with South Africa’s first mostly female anti-poaching unit, the Black Mambas.

He added: “We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN and world leaders to protect the future and ensure prosperity for all people without preserving natural habitats for all living beings—from wildlife to marine life.”

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2018/undp-announces-the-lion-s-share-fund-with-founder-finch-and-foun1/

To learn more and to join the fund, visit: https://thelionssharefund.com

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Nitrogen – ocean plastics pollution’s forgotten neighbour
29 Jun 2018 - A “revolution” is called for in how we manage nitrogen if we are to reverse the tremendous ecological and socio-economic impacts of ocean nitrogen pollution.

29 Jun 2018 - Tremendous – and deserved - attention has been paid for the last few years to the scourge of ocean plastics pollution, which we now know reaches the farthest depths of the ocean and can have impacts on ocean life from the smallest plankton to the largest whales. We know (Jambeck et al., 2015) that some 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year. UN Environment has estimated the socio-economic costs of ocean plastics pollution at about US$13 billion per year.  We are only beginning to explore and understand the potential human health impacts of plastics in the oceanic food chain.

There is however another major ocean pollutant the magnitude of which is, coincidentally, quite close to plastics at around 13 million metric tonnes per year (Seitzinger, 2010), and that is nitrogen. This includes a combination of fertilizer (4) and manure (4) run-off to rivers, untreated sewage (1), and atmospheric deposition (4). The dramatic increase in fertilizer production beginning in the 1950s led to the manufacture (using the Haber-Bosch process) of over 2 billion metric tonnes of reactive nitrogen and a 150 percent increase in the amount of nitrogen added annually to the environment, much of this reaching the ocean. Based on recent fertilizer prices, the ‘value’ of this unrecovered nutrient “waste” is about $15 billion per year. Models incorporating population and economic growth in ‘business as usual’ scenarios predict an additional doubling or more of nitrogen loads to the ocean, particularly in high growth regions such as South Asia, East Asia and Latin America.

Marine phytoplankton represent the base of the ocean food chain, and inorganic nitrogen represents the most vital among their ingredients for growth. In the quantities that rivers, and the ocean itself via upwelling, naturally provided to coastal waters prior to the human industrial era, marine ecosystems were well adapted to function. The excess inputs described above however have led to massive overgrowth of plankton in many coastal areas of the world, a process known as eutrophication.  When this plankton dies, as it sinks to the bottom its degradation by natural bacteria consumes oxygen, leading to low oxygen or ‘hypoxic’ areas, which are toxic to the vast majority of oxygen requiring marine life. Since the rapid growth of nitrogen pollution starting in the 50s, we have seen an exponential growth in the occurrence of hypoxic areas, now estimated to number over 500 (WRI, 2016).  UNDP (2012) estimated the global socioeconomic damage from ocean hypoxia at between $200 billion and $800 billion per year.

As with the plastics challenge, slowing and reversing nitrogen pollution trends requires transformational changes in the key sectors involved, including agriculture, wastewater management and fertilizer production. Also as for plastics, we need to manage nutrients using a much more circular approach involving substantial increases in efficiency, nutrient recovery and re-use.  There are a wide range of policy, regulatory, economic, technological and other tools that could be applied to help stem the nitrogen tide. These include (UNEP at al., 2012) nitrogen emission taxes, cap and trade on emissions, positive subsidies and other incentives to promote more efficient use, best agricultural practices, new toilet designs that allow recovery and re-use of human waste as fertilizer, and many others. A handful of these have been applied here and there, but much, much more needs to be done.

SDG 14.1, reduce marine pollution including nutrients, ‘matures’ in 2025, seven years from now. Over this period, as for plastics, a “revolution” is called for in how we manage nitrogen if we are to slow and ultimately reverse the tremendous ecological and socioeconomic impacts of ocean nitrogen pollution.

CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/Nitrogen_ocean_plastics_pollutions_forgotten_neighbour.html