Pacific Island leaders, including Palau President Surangel Whipps, announced Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos’s commitment of USD 100 million to the Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity (UBPP) initiative.
Tonga Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni, Fiji Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lesikimacuata Korovavala, and more also announced the launch this week at the climate summit in Dubai that the initiative will cover 100 percent of the “Blue Pacific Continent,” an area of the ocean covering more than 1 billion hectares.
Whipps said at the launch that the initiative was an effort to protect and rejuvenate the region’s ecosystems and empower communities through to the year 2050—in what is considered the biggest single conservation effort in history—Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity.
No one knows better than us about what works and what hasn’t worked in the Blue Pacific… Despite major efforts by our Pacific communities and long-standing international partners, development and environmental outcomes in the Pacific are not happening at the pace or scale needed to protect the planet or meet our regional needs. The world is not on track to meet any of the 17 sustainable development goals or climate goals by 2030. The Blue Pacific has a pivotal role in correcting the global course by achieving urgent global environmental commitments, including 30 by 30.”
The Bezos Earth Fund release said that the UBPP will protect 30 percent of the “continent,” which covers an area five times the size of the entire U.S.
Announcing the $100 million donation, CEO and President of Bezos Earth Fund, Andrew Steer, praised the Pacific Community for “dreaming big, aiming high, and working together”—a quote he attributed to Whipps, as he praised the Pacific community for what will be the biggest conservation effort in the history of 1 billion hectares.
“This is nowhere enough, but it is important to all of us. If there was ever a time for multilateralism, this is it,” he said.
The Pacific Islands leaders' strategy also aims to establish sustainable coastal food systems and restore and rejuvenate the coral reefs, mangroves, and other coastal ecosystems that are the foundation for food security, livelihoods, and culture in the Pacific Islands. In support of this initiative by the Pacific Heads of State and Ministers, the Earth Fund's commitment will enable efforts to restore and protect these coastal ecosystems and strengthen community-based fisheries management and conservation.
"Pacific Islands States are custodians of 30 percent of the world's precious coral systems, provide over 50 percent of the global tuna supply, and care for the largest carbon sink on the planet," said Dr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. "We are delighted to lend our support for this bold initiative to secure the health, food security, and livelihoods of people across the region. We urge other partners to join us to support this bold vision."
"There is no greater threat to the people of the Pacific than climate change," said President Surangel Whipps of Palau. "It threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our wellbeing. We are committed to leading this effort to protect our region and its extraordinary cultures and ecosystems. We're thrilled to partner with the Bezos Earth Fund on this initiative and call on others to join us."
"We understand that, because of its vast size, what happens to our Pacific is make or break for the planet. That's why we have committed to protecting 30 percent of our Blue Continent as we strive to protect and sustainably manage critical ecosystems. We mean to show the world that Pacific people are resilient and determined to hope, despite the dire Global Stocktake report card," said the Prime Minister of Tonga.
About the Bezos Earth Fund
The Bezos Earth Fund is helping transform the fight against climate change with the largest ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. Jeff Bezos has committed $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and address climate change. By providing funding and expertise, we partner with organizations to accelerate innovation, break down barriers to success and create a more equitable and sustainable world. Join us in our mission to create a world where people prosper in harmony with nature.