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Marine Science



New funding will continue FAO-led Common Oceans Programme. The approval of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) new work programme of USD 700 million for urgent environmental action – through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic – will enable FAO to continue its efforts to improve fisheries management and biodiversity conservation in our oceans.

With USD 27 million in financing, the new phase of the Common Oceans Programme is the largest FAO programme endorsed by the GEF’s governing body at the 58th Council meeting. In total, a massive USD 176 million was allocated to FAO-led projects in 30 countries that tackle the critical intersection between agriculture and environmental concerns.

“Knowing that we can continue working to improve fisheries management and conservation of biodiversity in our common oceans, gives a great sense of accomplishment,” said Alejandro Anganuzzi, Coordinator of the Common Oceans Programme at FAO. “Without the dedication and invaluable efforts of all our partners, this would never have been possible”, he added.

The marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) – our common oceans – cover 40 percent of the planet’s surface, and all countries share the responsibility for the management of these international waters.

This second phase of the Common Oceans Programme, led by FAO and co-implemented by UNDP and UNEP, will contribute to strengthen the sustainable management of 12 million hectares of marine protected areas in the ABNJ, and support moving 943 000 tonnes of several globally over-exploited fish species to sustainable levels.

It will build on lessons learned and leverage the successes achieved during the five-year, USD 50 million first phase of the programme, which made remarkable progress in improving tuna and deep-sea fisheries, tackling illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, protecting marine life and safeguarding vulnerable ecosystems in the ABNJ.

Being a major GEF International Waters programme, efforts will be focussed on promoting international initiatives for sustainable fishing and biodiversity conservation, with the aim to reduce overfishing, bycatch and other negative impacts caused by unsustainable practices, in the face of a changing environment.

The Common Oceans Programme is a partnership of intergovernmental agencies, the private sector and civil society organizations. It will consist of five “child” projects on: promoting sustainable management of tuna and deep-sea fisheries, building capacity to improve cross-sectoral collaboration and facilitate coordination with other ongoing initiatives, and supporting geographically focused multi-sectoral governance and financing for sustainable use of marine resources.