New York (June 5, 2017) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) today announced The Tiffany & Co. Foundation’s $1 million dollar grant towards its Marine Protected Area (MPA) Fund. The grant will be instrumental in the Fund’s mission to establish and strengthen MPAs around the world.
Though oceans cover approximately two thirds of the world, currently, less than 5% of the ocean is protected. WCS’s MPA Fund was created last year with the assistance of the Waitt Foundation and the blue moon fund for a combined $15 million commitment. The Fund seeks to create 3.7 million square kilometers of new MPAs, which will help 19 countries achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal target of protecting 10% of their marine and coastal waters by 2020.
Research has found that MPAs are critical for conserving marine ecosystems like coral reefs. More than 450 million people live within 60 kilometers of coral reefs, with many deriving food and income from them, yet they face extinction in the face of warming temperatures. The continued establishment of MPAs will further protect biodiversity, prevent overfishing and increase economic opportunity.
WCS has a long history with protecting marine species and ecosystems in the world’s oceans and coastal areas. The society’s Marine Conservation Program is active in the sovereign waters of 23 countries in five oceans, with projects focusing on defending marine species such as whales, sharks, and rays and supporting sustainable fishery practices. The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has supported WCS’s marine conservation program since 2000, with grants going towards global efforts spanning the Coral Triangle and the coasts of Kenya and Mauritius.
“The ocean and coral reefs face a myriad of threats today from climate change to pollution and overfishing.” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Chairman and President of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. “The creation of MPAs is a critical strategy to safeguard our oceans. We’re proud to support WCS’s ambitious vision to preserve this crucial resource for the enjoyment and livelihood of future generations.”
“We commend The Tiffany & Co. Foundation for its long and consistent support for conserving the precious resources of the ocean, which gives it a unique standing among companies,” said Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. “The gift will play a significant role in fulfilling the goals of the WCS MPA Fund to assist nations in protecting 10% of the world’s ocean and coastal waters by 2020.”
WCS has registered its MPA Fund as one of its key commitments with the UN registry of voluntary commitments, with The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, as well as the Waitt Foundation and blue moon fund, identified as partners.