Preservation of marine biodiversity
Title: Marine Conservation Support Project
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
The world’s oceans cover around 71 per cent of the surface area of our planet. They help to regulate our climate, produce oxygen, and also serve as transport and trade routes. Thanks to their biodiversity and productivity, they provide essential resources and ecosystem services for life on earth. Humankind is very dependent on oceans and marine ecosystem services to ensure sustainable development. We make use of marine waters for food, medical products and tourism, for example. Greater biodiversity in oceans and seas will ensure more reliable availability of ecosystem services.
However, the ecological condition of the world’s oceans is constantly deteriorating. Despite agreements under international law and voluntary commitments, marine waters are being exploited beyond the limits of what is sustainable. Most of the world’s fish stocks are either overfished (31 per cent) or have been exploited to their ecological limits (58 per cent). Biodiverse habitats such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs have already been destroyed or are endangered.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development tackles the issue of marine conservation in Sustainable Development Goal 14 – ‘Life below water'. This goal addresses issues such as marine pollution and the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems. Since 1992, the international community has also been committed to preserving biodiversity globally by means of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the associated implementation instruments. Marine and coastal biodiversity are also covered by this. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been combining its efforts to protect the world’s oceans in its Ten-point Plan of Action for Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries since 2016.
Through the contributions from this project, BMZ shapes policy and implementation processes that promote marine conservation. The focus here is primarily on the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda, the Biodiversity Convention and BMZ’s Ten-point Plan of Action.
The project works on behalf of and in close consultation with BMZ. In order to help shape international processes and to advance development cooperation (DC) in the area of marine conservation, knowledge must be kept up-to-date and innovative approaches have to be developed, tested and popularised. This requires continuous expert support for numerous thematic areas that are relevant to marine conservation, together with the analysis and dissemination of many years of development cooperation experience.
The advisory project supports BMZ in ensuring that development policy positions on marine conservation are taken into account in national and international policy processes, such as negotiations on the 2030 Agenda or the Biodiversity Convention. It also advises BMZ on the steering and advancement of development cooperation in the field of marine conservation and on the implementation of initiatives that focus attention on certain thematic areas. The project builds on the experience of previous measures. It works closely with the ‘Biodiversity on land’ advisory project in terms of conceptual development and also engages in a comprehensive exchange with other DC measures and actors. Development policy work is monitored in order to generate practical knowledge and ensure the effectiveness of the suggested concepts and initiatives.
With the aid of professional advisory services provided by the project, BMZ helps to shape international and national development-oriented policy processes, and steers and further develops its marine portfolio. For example, the project develops instruments and draft strategies and concepts as part of its advisory services. In accordance with the priority areas and policy decisions of BMZ, these serve as inputs for the implementation of international agreements or are used in DC projects at the level of partner countries.
The project is currently implementing the MeerWissen – African-German Partners for Ocean Knowledge initiative on behalf of BMZ. This initiative fosters African-German research cooperation with the aim of improving the information basis that is available to policy-makers. With this foundation in place, the protection and sustainable use of marine ecosystems can be more effectively mainstreamed in national development plans. Through the advisory services provided to BMZ, the project contributes indirectly to marine conservation and to the sustainable use of marine ecosystem services, and thus also to sustainable development.