2021 handed world leaders a unique opportunity to tackle the twin crises of our time: biodiversity loss and climate change. And while their actions sadly fell short, there are many reasons to be hopeful. What determines whether we pull ourselves back from the climate cliff is no longer the clarity of the science or the will of politicians, but the actions taken by civil society.
Right now, community groups are stronger and more organised than they have been in decades. All over the world, social movements, charities, scientists, and local communities are working to adapt to the new normal, and pushing to ensure leaders take bolder, more equitable action on nature and climate than ever before.
This year, Blue Ventures is more committed than ever to support grassroots action that protects the ocean and the hundreds of millions of people who depend on it.
We’ve shifted gears to up our advocacy efforts to ensure that these voices are properly heard: sending a strong statement to the world on conservation and human rights, and launching a coalition against destructive bottom trawling. And we’re continuing to support partners and communities on the frontline of our changing planet, who are doing crucial work to restore ocean life, build resilience and create sustainable pathways to prosperity.
Blue Ventures’ involvement in developing a mangrove mapping tool was featured in The Conversation. The Google Earth Engine Mangrove Mapping Methodology (GEEMMM) enables coastal managers to map and monitor mangrove extent and change, and crucially, includes smaller, community-led areas of forest that previous tools have missed out.
The tool enables coastal communities to take the lead on protecting their natural marine resources, and build resilience.
The Small-Scale Fisheries Resource and Collaboration Hub (SSF) is an interactive multilingual digital platform for small-scale fishers, fish workers, and their communities and allies. It provides access to free tools and resources to strengthen small-scale fisheries governance and community development.
COVID-19 has had significant impacts on the livelihoods and well-being of communities around the globe. For coastal communities, tourism plunged, international seafood supply chains broke down, and movement restrictions led to widespread job losses exposing the vulnerability of many livelihoods. However, the pandemic also provided an opportunity to understand how Blue Ventures can help bolster community resilience to future economic and environmental shocks while continuing conservation on the ground.
Nurain Lapolo is the director of Japesda, one of Blue Ventures’ partners in Indonesia. She explains why female empowerment is so important to conservation.
“Women play important roles in conservation and fisheries management. I believe it’s really important to empower women because they are the influencer in their families. They are close to natural resources, and they have the power to manage them sustainably. Women are on the frontlines of this fight on climate breakdown – and we are affected by it the most. We need to make room for more women to be involved in sustainable natural resource management.” – Nurain Lapolo, director of Japesda
Small-scale fisheries remain one of the least digitised sectors of the global economy. The lack of accessible data represents one of the biggest challenges facing communities working to rebuild their fisheries.
Working alongside our global network of community-based partner organisations, we’re looking to change things – by supporting communities to collect, analyse and share fisheries data themselves. This participatory monitoring, backed up by strong technical support, puts data in the hands of fishers, enabling them to reap benefits far beyond improved catches.
Blue Ventures and the ICCA Consortium hosted a panel discussion on the impact of the 30×30 conservation goal on coastal communities. 30×30 seeks to protect 30% of the land and ocean by 2030. Putting 30×30 into practice will have a significant impact on communities, small-scale fisheries, and Indigenous people.
The panel’s resounding recommendation was that a communities-led approach is essential if we are to secure a sustainable future for our ocean.
Also this month:
Birgit Hermann (country director) and Oldegar ‘Ollie’ Massinga (operations manager), who head up the Blue Ventures’ team in Timor-Leste, reflect on five years of working with communities to drive locally led marine conservation in the country.
Ahead of COP15, Blue Ventures published a position statement on the ’30×30′ target of designating 30% of the planet as protected areas by 2030. In this piece, we highlight the need to recognise the human rights of those who live among and depend on the ocean if we are to protect it effectively.
Also this month:
Blue Ventures launched the Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition to develop equitable, evidence-based policy solutions to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling. This includes developing technical research briefings and bringing perspectives together to identify paths towards lower-impact fishing methods.
Blue Ventures and the Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition released a research briefing ahead of the COP26 negotiations on the climate impact of bottom trawling. This new briefing summarises this emerging field of research, outlining the known major impacts from bottom trawling on greenhouse gas emissions and identifying key mitigation opportunities.
Also this month:
November saw the arrival of world leaders in Glasgow for COP26. Playing our part to bring focus to the ocean we hosted blue carbon panels in both the blue and green zones, as well as a side event in partnership with the Transform Bottom Trawling Coalition and Our Seas on bottom trawling and a net-zero future. Our colleagues from around the world also took to stages across Glasgow where they championed the importance of nature-based ocean solutions incorporating a communities first approach to tackling the climate emergency.
Blue Ventures contributed to a new report which investigates the impact of bottom trawling on critical habitats and small-scale, artisanal fishers.
“Over 100 million people rely on subsistence and small-scale fishing for their daily food and livelihood − often using the same waters targeted by bottom trawlers. By impacting complex habitats and fish populations, bottom trawling can create conflict and diminish fisheries that are critical to the livelihoods and food security of some of the most vulnerable people on earth” – Dr Steve Rocliffe, a marine scientist at Blue Ventures and contributor to the report.
As we look forward to 2022 we are mobilising to bring the full force of our networks and experience to promote critical global action on climate and ecosystem restoration. We will be amplifying the voices of fishers to inspire action to rebuild fisheries and protect ocean life.
Our accomplishments this year were only possible thanks to the support of our friends, partners, and thousands of supporters like you. We are enormously grateful to everyone who is supporting us to drive forward a locally-led global marine conservation movement.