UK signs up to global alliance to protect our oceans and at-risk communities

Coral Reef

The UK has this week announced its membership of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA).

The alliance aims to drive $500 million of global investment by 2030 into nature-based solutions to climate change. The investment will be used to enhance marine and coastal ecosystems such as reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds to increase resilience to climate change and mitigate its impact on coastal communities.

The UK becomes the second G7 country after Canada to become a full member of the Alliance. Through the UK’s G7 and COP26 Presidencies, ORRAA will be uniquely placed to bring the financial sector, governments and NGOs together to drive investment in nature-based solutions and to build resilience in vulnerable coastal communities.

The announcement was made by International Environment Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith at the World Economic Forum’s Virtual Ocean Dialogue, in a discussion on the importance of ocean recovery in tackling climate change.

It follows last week’s meeting between the Climate and Environment Ministers of the G7 ministerial under UK leadership, at which historic commitments putting climate, biodiversity and the environment at the heart of worldwide COVID-19 recovery were agreed.

All G7 members signed up to the global ‘30×30’ initiative to conserve or protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030 and agreed to strengthen support for ORRAA.

International Environment Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith said:

I am delighted the UK is moving to full membership of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance. Our shared ocean is critical to the economic, social and environmental well-being of people and the planet but is currently facing unprecedented pressures.

Ocean action is climate action. This is why we continue to champion global efforts towards marine protection, committing to increasing support for the Alliance as well as our existing 30by30 campaign.

Chip Cunliffe, Co-Chair of ORRAA, said:

Working more closely with the UK as it becomes a full member of ORRAA is hugely important – especially given the UK’s current global leadership through the G7 and COP26 presidencies. Our Alliance is uniquely placed to bring public and private stakeholders together to drive investment in nature-based solutions and to build resilience in vulnerable coastal communities.

Having the UK actively involved will help boost our multi-sector collaboration of governments, the finance and insurance sectors, NGOs and civil society – all working together to accelerate action, innovation and capital to secure positive outcomes for the Ocean.

The UK government says it recognises the importance of sustainable resilience for coastal communities and marine ecosystems as well as the vital role our ocean can play in wider climate change recovery. Speaking at the Virtual Ocean Dialogue, Lord Goldsmith outlined the link between climate recovery and ocean recovery, highlighting how the UK’s new £500m Blue Planet Fund will aim to help countries protect and restore critically important marine ecosystems.

Lord Goldsmith also discussed the role ocean science will play and how the UK is scaling up efforts to find collaborative solutions and share scientific expertise with other nations to drive ocean action throughout the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. To meet this aim, G7 countries have agreed an ambitious ‘G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan’ which provides a framework for G7 collaboration towards transformative ocean science for ocean action throughout the Decade.

During last week’s environment and climate ministerial, G7 countries also committed to step up international action to tackle ghost fishing gear, including agreement to support organisations such as the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and to carefully consider the recommendations of the UK-commissioned OECD report ‘Towards G7 Action to Combat Ghost Fishing Gear’.

ORRAA are also planning a roundtable at COP26, hosted by the UK this year, to secure concrete actions for ocean resilience.


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