Commonwealth incubator announces funding for ocean sustainability projects 

09 December 2023
People pull in fishing nets

The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator today announced funding for four pioneering government-led projects in Commonwealth countries.

The projects are being implemented in Barbados, Kenya, Kiribati, and Seychelles. They address a spectrum of marine conservation challenges, from plastic pollution reduction to coastal fisheries, blue carbon, monitoring and mapping. 

The grants, which aim to boost capacity for ocean conservation and climate resilience were announced at COP28, the UN Climate Change Meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, expressed her optimism about the impact of these projects, saying:

"The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator is making a practical difference in Commonwealth countries by supporting projects which protect our ocean and promote climate resilience.  

“These projects not only address environmental challenges but also empower local communities and national governments to work together to drive sustainable transformations."

With 49 out of 56 countries bordering the ocean, including 25 small island developing states, the Commonwealth is a recognised leader in ocean sustainability, supporting member governments through its flagship Blue Charter initiative, an agreement by all 56 Commonwealth countries to actively cooperate to solve ocean-related challenges and meet commitments for sustainable ocean action.  

Supported by an initial contribution from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, along with co-funding commitments from implementation partners, the Project Incubator kickstarts new government-led ocean partnerships that will build critical capacity in Commonwealth governments for implementing ocean-climate and sustainability initiatives.  

The grants announced today exemplify the positive change that can be achieved through targeted, strategic investment and collaborative action. They are:  

  • Barbados in partnership with Common Seas is working to combat plastic pollution and boost its sustainable blue economy through national assessment and policy implementation. 

  • Kenya with several partners and local communities, is launching a marine monitoring and mapping project to empower locals in actively protecting their marine resources. 

  • Kiribati is addressing the availability and affordability of legal fishing gear to fishing communities in the Kiritimati Fisheries sub-Division. 

  • Seychelles with a local NGO, The Ocean Project (TOP), is embarking on an 18-month monitoring programme of plastic pollution in rivers on Mahé island, which will inform policy and raise awareness to aid protection of freshwater and coastal ecosystems. 

Further projects are planned in Fiji, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka, as well as a cooperative venture with Canada next year. 

Sustainable Development Goal 14 'Life Under Water' receives the least funding of all the SDGs. As a result, developing small island and coastal states face even fewer funding options, particularly for typically marginalised groups, including women, young people, indigenous peoples, and local communities. 

The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator is addressing this challenge by focusing on proof-of-concept and small-scale projects, empowering local communities, and governments to act together. It is managed by the Commonwealth Secretariat, working closely with member countries and the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups. 

To learn more, please contact the Blue Charter team.  

About the Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator
For more information, follow #CommonwealthForClimate or visit our COP28 hub.

Media contact

  • Victoria Holdsworth  Head of CHOGM Media Delivery, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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