U.S. Commitments Announced at Our Ocean 2019 Conference

Olympic National Park, Washington State Photo credit: John Fowler via Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/snowpeak/4904321353/in/album-721576...

October 23, 2019 — Oslo, Norway

Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach announced the United States’ 23 new commitments valued at 1.21 billion dollars to promote sustainable fisheries; combat marine debris; and support marine science, observation, and exploration.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

 The United States Announced USD 1 Billion over the Next Decade for Ocean Exploration and Mapping

The United States announced that NOAA is prepared to spend USD 1 billion over the next decade to lead the broader U.S. effort to explore, map, and characterize the global ocean floor, including the U.S. continental shelf, in support of Seabed 2030, which aims to facilitate the complete mapping of the global ocean floor by 2030.  Over the course of the decade, NOAA will test and implement new technology, including autonomous underwater vehicles, to enhance and accelerate this mission and a productive Blue Economy.

 The United States Announced USD 3.5 Million from NOAA to Prevent, Remove, and Conduct Research on Marine Debris

The United States announced USD 3.5 million from NOAA for marine debris prevention, removal, and research that will also support implementation of marine debris action plans within the United States.  This commitment will fund innovative prevention projects that change behavior, develop capacity, and encourage creative solutions to minimize the amount and impact of marine debris.  It will support community-based removal projects, including some that deploy unmanned aerial systems technology to identify marine debris, as well as research projects to better understand the sources and movement of marine debris and its adverse impacts on wildlife.

The United States Announced the Ocean Risk Index to Quantify the Economic Value of Coastlines

The United States announced that NOAA will partner with industry, other governments, scientific institutions, and civil society organizations in the development of an Ocean Risk Index that will quantify the economic value of coastlines that are physically, biologically, and ecologically resilient.  The development phase of the Ocean Risk Index started in 2019 with an expected launch by 2021.

The United States Announced USD 7.5 Million for the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

The United States announced USD 2.5 million per year for three years to advance development of the U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), part of a global MBON, in partnership with the Group on Earth Observations and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.  MBON projects have been central in developing best practices for eDNA collection and analysis and in demonstrating its utility for biological observing globally, including on new platforms such as long-range autonomous underwater vehicles.  The United States also supports MBON capacity building activities in partnership with IOC’s Ocean Biogeographic Information System and Ocean Teacher Global Academy – sharing technology and expertise to assess marine biodiversity and ecosystem change, including expanding efforts in the Americas and establishing new partnerships in the IndoPacific region.

The United States Announced USD 4.2 Million for Deep Argo and Biogeochemical Missions

The United States announced USD 4.2 million from NOAA to support global ocean observations.  NOAA will create and host a Biogeochemical (BGC) Argo data center for all global measurements of essential biological and chemical ocean variables.  The United States will also start four new projects, including regional BGC Argo pilot studies in the Pacific and Atlantic and two pilot studies for the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) to be completed by 2021.  In addition to the USD 4.2 million in investments by NOAA, the United States will double the number of deep ocean profilers with the support of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (PGAFF).  The Argo Program and TPOS project provide ocean observation data for weather, ocean, and climate forecasts.

The United States Announced USD 4.8 Million to Optimize Ocean Acidification Observing Systems in Large Marine Ecosystems

The United States announced USD 4.8 million from NOAA to support new research to optimize ocean acidification observing systems in Large Marine Ecosystems.  This research – which is estimated to be completed by 2022 – will enable all global decision-makers to more efficiently and accurately acquire the information needed to understand ocean acidification’s impacts on commercially and ecologically important marine species and ecosystems.

The United States Announced USD 77 Million for National Coastal Resilience Fund

The United States announced USD 77 million from NOAA to support coastal resilience. NOAA will partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and its corporate stakeholders, Shell Oil Company and TransRe, on the National Coastal Resilience Fund. This Fund will award approximately USD 29 million in grants to create, expand, and restore natural systems in areas that will increase protection for communities from coastal storms, sea- and lake-level changes, inundation, and coastal erosion and will improve valuable habitats for fish and other wildlife across U.S. coastal states and territories. Awards for the National Coastal Resilience Fund will be announced in November 2019. NOAA and NFWF will award an additional approximately USD 48 million through the Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund for resilience projects in coastal areas impacted by recent natural disasters. These grants will help to inform coastal resilience information exchange and capacity building with Pacific Island and domestic partners. Awards for the Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund will be announced in March 2020. The awards for both programs will vary in duration from one to three years. All funded projects are tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of 2023.

 The United States Announced New Regional Program for Building Capacity in Hurricane Forecasting

The United States announced a multilateral program to improve regional capacity for hurricane forecasting in the Caribbean Sea and tropical North Atlantic Ocean.  NOAA is partnering with the University of Miami and the governments of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas to create a sustained network of underwater gliders that will provide critical information needed for earlier and more accurate hurricane forecasts and to provide capacity development in the region to use this information to improve forecasting and save lives.

The United States Announced Funding for the Integrated Ocean Observing System Regional Associations

The United States announced a total of USD 30 million from NOAA’s National Ocean Service to fund federally certified Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Associations (RAs) to produce, integrate, and communicate high-quality ocean, coastal and Great Lakes information that meets the safety, economic, and stewardship needs of the Nation.  IOOS provides easier and better access to information to improve our ability to understand and predict coastal events such as storms, wave heights, and sea level change.  A sustainable blue economy depends on the data, information, and knowledge derived from sustained ocean observations.  The United States is actively sharing this policy framework with other nations that are developing ocean observing systems and sharing lessons learned and best practices for emerging networks through the Global Ocean Observing System Regional Alliance.

The United States Announced New Support for PSMA Implementation

The United States announced additional technical assistance and training of fisheries inspectors for effective implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).  In addition to continuing cooperation with the governments of Indonesia and the Republic of the Philippines, NOAA will expand fisheries enforcement training and technical assistance to fisheries enforcement authorities in countries in South America and the Asia-Pacific region.  These activities will include conducting inspections of fishing vessels and fisheries support vessels in accordance with the requirements of the PSMA to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

 The United States Announced a Partnership with UN FAO to Support PSMA Implementation

The United States announced a multi-year partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to support implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and other instruments to combat IUU fishing in the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Through this project, NOAA is providing technical assistance to strengthen national policy and legislative frameworks and operational capacity to carry out coordinated monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) operations to combat IUU fishing through implementation of the PSMA and complementary international instruments.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States and Senegal Announced the USAID Feed the Future Senegal Dekal Guedj Program

The United States and Senegal announced the new five-year USAID Feed the Future Senegal Dekal Guedj program, which aims to improve food security and livelihoods in Senegal by improving fisheries management.  The program will build on seven years of USG investments to support the resilience of Senegal’s ocean fisheries and inclusive blue economic development.  Adding stronger processes, policies, and coordination together with amplified government capacity will be key to improving overall enforcement and deterring illegal practices.  It will also effectively serve decentralization, co-management, and more effective management of marine protected areas.  Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 15 million over five years, 2019-2024.

The United States Announced a USAID Partnership to Support the SNAPPER Project in Indonesia

The United States announced a new partnership between USAID, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation to jointly support the SNAPPER project to improve management of the snapper and grouper fishery in Indonesia.  Implemented by The Nature Conservancy, SNAPPER will protect and recover the population of valuable deep-water snappers and groupers.  SNAPPER is promoting the application of science-based policy, innovative technologies, and private sector engagement to advance sustainable fisheries.  Anticipated level of support by USAID, subject to availability of funds, is USD 1 million over three years, 2019-2022.

The United States Announced a USAID Learning Initiative on Gender, Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Fisheries

The United States announced a new USAID learning initiative on gender, women’s economic empowerment, and fisheries which includes pilot activities with fisheries programs in Indonesia, Ghana, Malawi, and the Philippines.  This new learning platform will build the evidence base that women’s economic empowerment interventions contribute to achieving sustainable fisheries management outcomes.  It is informed by the recently released USAID-IUCN study, Gender in Fisheries: A Sea of Opportunities, which summarizes research on the intersection of gender and wild-caught fisheries, exploring the ways in which fisheries offer important entry points to enhance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment while also contributing to more effective interventions and more sustainable outcomes.  Level of support by USAID is USD 1 million over two years, 2019–2021.

The United States Announced the USAID Lukautim Graun Project to Conserve Biodiversity in Papua New Guinea

The United States announced a new USAID award to support conservation of marine and terrestrial biodiversity in Papua New Guinea.  The Lukautim Graun project, or “look after the environment,” will reduce the primary threats to biodiversity in Papua New Guinea by strengthening management of customary lands and waters in exceptional terrestrial and marine biodiversity areas.  At the national level, the project will support the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority and other government entities to promote transparent policies, including environmental safeguards, for effective stewardship of natural resources.  At the site level, the project will conserve biodiversity in priority places by demonstrating and replicating conservation actions that reduce the key threats.  Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 19 million over five years, 2019-2024.

The United States Announced a USAID Partnership To Target Natural Resource Corruption

The United States announced a new USAID partnership aimed at reducing corruption in the natural resource sector—including a strong focus on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing—with the World Wildlife Fund, the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, TRAFFIC, and George Mason University’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center.  The objective of the Tackling Natural Resource Corruption project is to improve biodiversity outcomes by equipping practitioners to address the threats posed by corruption to wildlife, fisheries, and forests.  The project works through three strategic approaches: (i) building knowledge, (ii) communicating for change, (iii) applying knowledge and testing hypotheses.  Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 10 million over five years, 2018-2023.

 The United States Announced the Integrated Marine Ecosystems Management Project in Northern Hispaniola

The United States announced a new three-year USAID award to reduce local threats to biodiversity in coastal and marine ecosystems along the Haitian-Dominican Republic border in Northern Hispaniola, while minimizing economic and cultural disruption for communities that depend on those ecosystems.  The Integrated Marine Ecosystems Management in Northern Hispaniola project will: 1) implement participatory and adaptive management provisions established in the management plans for the marine protected areas of Mangroves of Estero Balsa National Park, Cayos Siete Hermanos Wildlife Refuge, and El Morro National Park in DR and Three Bays National Park in Haiti; 2) foster local-level, cross-border collaboration, and experience-sharing related to participatory governance of marine protected areas, and; 3) disseminate and implement best practices in fishing and farming systems and ecotourism.  Anticipated level of funding, subject to availability of funds, is USD 1.8 million over three years, 2019-2022.

 Department of State

 The United States Announced USD 987,500 to Support Vietnam’s National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Waste

The United States announced a grant of USD 987,500 over two years, 2019-2021, to The Ocean Conservancy to accelerate implementation of Vietnam’s National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Waste.  The work will include activities pertaining to innovative financing for solid waste management, policy, locality-specific science, debris removal, and the riverine environment as a pathway for ocean plastic emissions.

The United States Announced USD 316,830 to Monitor Ocean Acidification and Combat Marine Plastics

The United States announced USD 316,830 to two Nuclear Sciences and Applications projects through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Peaceful Uses Initiative. The contributions include USD 251,670 to the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) located at the Environment Laboratories in Monaco. The OA-ICC works to promote, facilitate, and communicate global activities on ocean acidification and serves as a hub to bring together scientists, policy makers, media, schools, the general public, and other ocean acidification stakeholders. Since 2010, the United States has allocated a total of more than USD 3.4 million to the OA-ICC. The United States also announced a contribution of USD 65,160 to a continuing IAEA project, “Marine Plastics: Tackling the Challenge Using Nuclear Applications.” This project seeks to develop and apply radio-labelling techniques to assess how marine microplastic particles and their associated adsorbed organic pollutants are bioaccumulated in marine organisms, and evaluate effects to organisms. Since 2010 the United States has allocated over USD 620,000 to this project.

 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

 The United States Announced USD 30 Million for Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment

The United States announced USD 30 million for the Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE), an experiment that improves our understanding of the effect of small, kilometer-scale ocean motions (order of 100m-10km) on the Earth’s climate system. Specifically, the project uses in situ and remote-sensing technologies, including instruments installed on three aircraft, an oceanographic research vessel, and numerous autonomous ocean vehicles, to investigate the vertical exchange of climate and biological variables in the upper ocean. This project will use measurements from a novel combination of platforms and instruments – such as an aircraft-mounted Doppler radar for measuring ocean currents and winds – along with data analysis and modeling, to improve on current models of ocean climate variability, which are subject to uncertainty due to the poorly understood impact of relatively small details in model physics when using models to make predictions.

 Department of the Interior

 The United States Announced USD 300,000 and Other Assistance to Support Our Ocean 2020 in Palau

The United States announced USD 300,000 from the Department of the Interior, along with security, training, and capacity-building assistance from the Departments of Defense and State and other U.S. agencies, to support Palau in hosting the 2020 Our Ocean conference.

 National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office (NMIO)

 The United States Announced a Partnership between Global Fishing Watch and the Marine Conservation and Maritime Security Coalition to Increase Transparency in the Global Maritime Domain

The United States announced a new partnership between Global Fishing Watch and the Marine Conservation and Maritime Security Coalition that will support 3 to 5 case studies over the next 3 years to reduce conflicts over maritime resources and increase regional stability at sea by providing enhanced analytical power and increased data sharing with relevant maritime authorities.

US Trade Representative (USTR)

Pledge to Not Provide Subsidies to Fishing Vessels or Operators Determined to be Engaged in Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

Chile; Costa Rica; Japan; Korea; Mexico; New Zealand; Panama; the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; the United States; and Uruguay announced their pledge to not provide subsidies to fishing vessels or operators determined to be engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing by (1) the flag state or subsidizing state, (2) a relevant RFMO/A in accordance with its rules and procedures and in conformity with international law, or (3) a coastal state for activities in waters under its jurisdiction, provided the coastal state has undertaken this pledge and acted in accordance with due process and international law in making its determination.