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Coral in Marine Protected Areas for marine biodiversity
Over just five years, the Blue Action Fund, established by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and supported by AFD Group, has helped to create and consolidate more than 230,000 km² of protected marine areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Marking World Ocean Day on June 8, we took stock.

And then there were three! On May 5, AFD formalized its new initiative to support the Blue Action Fund, the third of its kind in four years, with the award of a €5 million grant, bringing its total contribution since 2018 to €10 million. The aim of this additional aid is to promote the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity, while supporting the local development of communities whose lives depend on the ocean and its resources.

Oceans and coastlines are under threat on a global scale: their resources are being overexploited and they are often the dumpsite of waste and pollutants. What’s more, climate change is beginning to disrupt ecosystems. In January, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, as part of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People co-chaired by France and Costa Rica, over 50 countries pledged to protect at least 30% of their land and oceans by 2030.

Supporting NGOs in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Established in 2016 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Blue Action Fund aims to pool the finances of various donors and award this funding to NGOs renowned for their work on the protection and conservation of marine and coastal areas in developing countries. The foundation organizes regular calls for projects targeting a specific region of the world, and aims to finance several projects of €1 million to €3 million over three to five years.

By the end of 2020, 12 projects had received financing, amounting to a total of €39 million, including €29 million from the Blue Action Fund. Ultimately, these projects will result in the protection of around 230,000 km2 of sea and coastal areas and will improve the living conditions of 200,000 people.

For further reading go to: “The Clean Oceans Initiative, One Year On

In 2021, the Blue Action Fund formalized its support for a project in West Papua, Indonesia, implemented by the NGO Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), a subsidiary of The Nature Conservancy, with a twofold objective:

  • to improve the management of existing and newly-created protected marine areas in the Bird's Head seascape thus contributing 6% to the Indonesian government’s 2030 national target 
  • to establish a mechanism to support the development of sustainable livelihoods in seven villages (fishing, tourism, transport)

€145 million invested

Supported by France, Germany and Sweden, as well as the Green Climate Fund, the Blue Action Fund is now the only multilateral fund focused exclusively on financing marine and coastal conservation NGOs. In just five years, it has become a major player in the field, with €145 million invested in this sector by the end of 2020.

Since 2018, the business monitoring conducted by AFD Group has confirmed the efficiency and transparency of this tool: “The Blue Action Fund is a partner skilled in establishing high-level dialogue with its beneficiaries, NGOs, contributors and donors. Through this fund, AFD is participating in a collective effort to make the leap forward needed to finance the protection of oceans and coasts in developing countries,” says Hélène Gobert, Ocean, Fisheries and Aquaculture expert at AFD. “It is a very important channel for supporting projects led by civil society, in conjunction with national authorities.”

The latest call for projects was launched in April and will run until mid-July. It concerns the Atlantic coast of Africa, from Morocco to South Africa, where AFD plans to step up its activities for biodiversity conservation.

AFD’s latest financial contribution will be used to fund more NGO operations to create and manage protected marine areas, combining scientific research, management practices and environmental protection, with support for coastal communities through sustainable investment. In 2021, the fund plans to sign agreements on 8 to 10 additional projects in Indonesia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.