Blue Pacific boost

Bezos Earth Fund pledges US$100 million to support the Pacific Islands’ initiative to create the largest conservation effort ever.

Photography by UNDP

07 December 2023


At COP28, Pacific Islands State Leaders launched a bold new Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity initiative to safeguard and revitalise the Blue Pacific Continent. The Bezos Earth Fund will support the design and implementation of more than 1 billion hectares of ocean across the Blue Pacific Continent.

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 30 November to 12 December 2023.

The Bezos Earth Fund issued a statement saying it applauds and endorses the Pacific Leaders’ bold vision to protect and restore the region’s extraordinary marine ecosystems.

“Today, the Earth Fund announced plans to provide up to $100 million in grants to support the design and implementation of the conservation plan,” it continued.

“This groundbreaking initiative will establish sustainable management across 100 percent of the Blue Pacific Continent, nearly 50 percent larger than all of Africa and five times the size of the United States.


“It will protect 30 percent of the continent, more than 1 billion hectares, to strengthen the ocean’s resilience to climate impacts.”

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.”

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Siaosi ‘Ofakivahafolau Sovaleni added, “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. We celebrate the efforts of Pacific Islanders to protect and restore coastal ecosystems, which are foundational to life – both human and marine – across their islands and territories,” said Dr Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader for Nature Solutions at the Bezos Earth Fund.

“The Bezos Earth Fund is committed to protecting 30 percent of our land and ocean to safeguard nature and to support food security and development in this decisive decade. Pacific Islands Heads of State are leading the charge, and we urge the international community to follow suit and create and implement similar plans to protect the world’s oceans.”

More than 100 countries have come together to address these issues, adopting an ambitious target to protect at least 30 percent of land and marine areas by 2030.

Addressing COP28, Tongan King Tupou VI emphasised the need for urgent and collaborative action in addressing the impacts of climate change.

In his address, King Tupou VI highlighted the challenges faced by Pacific Small Island Developing States (P-SIDS), expressing disappointment that COP28 might not be the anticipated milestone moment due to slow progress on the Paris Agreement.

He urged international partners to collaborate in implementing this political prioritisation process and called for support in establishing a Pacific Resilience Facility, emphasising its importance in building community resilience.

“We need a Pacific-led, member-owned and managed community resilience financing facility.”

Highlighting Tonga’s role as an Ocean People, King Tupou VI aligned the country’s goals with the themes outlined by the UAE at COP28, emphasising technology and innovation, inclusion, frontline communities, and finance.

“The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent sees Pacific Island countries embarking on a blue technological revolution with innovation at the centre, seeking to develop and deploy SIDS-Appropriate technologies.”

As champions of the Unlocking the Blue Pacific Prosperity Plan, King Tupou VI stressed the goals of effective ocean management, protection of the Blue Pacific Continent, robust food systems, and sustainable financing mechanisms.

“Tonga and Palau are Champions of the Unlocking the Blue Pacific Prosperity Plan, which articulates the goals of one hundred percent (100 percent) effective ocean management for the region.”

King Tupou VI urged COP28 delegates to prioritise “nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action,” emphasising a paradigm shift in the discussions.

“Let us put nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action,” he said.


the Bezos Earth Fund

The Bezos Earth Fund is transforming the fight against climate change with the largest-ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. We’re investing $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and drive systems-level change, creating a just transition to a low-carbon economy.

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.



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