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Minister Coveney announces €10m ocean funding ahead of UN Ocean Conference

Ahead of the UN Ocean Conference which takes place in Lisbon this week, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., has announced almost €10 million in funding to help address ocean challenges faced by developing countries including Small Island Developing States.

Minister Coveney said:

“To successfully address the huge challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, we need to be responsive to the health of the oceans. This package of funding underlines the importance that Ireland attaches to the oceans and will assist us to understand, protect and restore our oceans while helping to sustain livelihoods for vulnerable people in Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.”

Colm Brophy T.D., Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, added:

“As an island nation ourselves, we have a strong connection with Small Island Developing States across the world. It is important that they are being prioritised through this funding. In particular, the Our Shared Ocean Programme, which is being delivered in association with the Marine Institute, will facilitate partnerships between research centres in Ireland and Small Island Developing States, strengthening our connections and shared contribution to promoting sustainable ocean management.”

Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, said:

“As Ireland moves towards our goal of 30% Marine Protected Area coverage by 2030, we recognise that there are challenges and opportunities. The triple ocean challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution require a transition towards enhanced ocean protection. Ireland’s Government this week announced Our Shared Ocean, a programme addressing ocean challenges for Small Island Developing States. As a small island nation we are committed to protecting the ocean that we all share. We believe that by working together we can overcome the triple ocean challenges, and build a better ocean future for people and for nature.”

Today’s funding announcement comprises:

  • €5 million over three years to the Blue Action Fund to enhance the management and use of coastal and marine ecosystems in developing countries while improving the lives of local people.
  • €3.8 million over five years for the Our Shared Ocean Programme to facilitate research partnerships between Irish and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) based institutions.
  • €600,000 for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to promote equitable and inclusive development of coastal areas in Tanzania with a focus on marginalised women and girls.
  • €300,000 to the World Bank PROBLUE Trust Fund, specifically for activities in the Caribbean to support the sustainable and integrated development of marine and coastal resources.
  • €250,000 to Climate KIC to support innovation in the Blue Economy in Pacific Island Developing States through an enterprise support programme.

Notes to editors

  • The UN Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, takes place from 27 June to 1 July 2022. The Conference aims to propel science-based innovative solutions to support global ocean action.
  • Ireland’s delegation will be led by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan T.D.
  • Ireland’s contribution to the Blue Action Fund will support projects implemented by NGOs to support their efforts to protect the ocean and promote sustainable livelihoods in coastal communities in developing countries. Blue Action issues calls for proposals every year, targeting the most sensitive coastal waters in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific.
  • The Our Shared Ocean Programme is a five year initiative funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and delivered by the Marine Institute. It will provide grants to; support ocean-focussed fellowship and research projects with SIDS; facilitate travel between Ireland and SIDS for training, conferences and workshops and provide direct contributions to international programmes.
  • Ireland funds the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) through our Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This €600,000 grant will build on an earlier grant to support a project titled, ‘Towards a Blue Future in Tanga-Pemba Seascape’. This will be implemented by IUCN in partnership with Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association and Ocean Hub Africa. The project itself aims to boost development of the blue economy in North East Tanzania. It has a particular focus on women’s economic empowerment.
  • The World Bank PROBLUE Trust Fund supports the development of integrated, sustainable and healthy marine and coastal resources. It focuses on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, marine pollution, ocean governance and the blue economy. Ireland provided €700,000 in 2021 to the PROBLUE Trust Fund. This additional €300,000 contribution will specifically focus on activities in the Caribbean.
  • DFA is providing €250,000 to support a pilot programme on the oceans with Climate KIC. This will focus on the acceleration of 5-10 climate innovations with high impact potential. It will focus exclusively on solutions from the Pacific Islands region, which experiences a severe climate risk, and will encourage regional collaboration to catalyse innovation on ocean challenges. It is the first of its kind for Climate KIC in developing countries and, if successful, can be applied to and scaled up in other regions.


Press Office

27 June 2022

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