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Commonwealth establishes Blue Charter Project Incubator to bridge climate funding for member countries

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Commonwealth has introduced Blue Charter Project Incubator, the new technical support and funding allocated to the member countries to support projects that promote ocean protection and marine development while tackling climate change.

The funding includes small grants worth £5000 and £50,000 targeting a range of action activities that support ocean policy and project development, such as training, capacity building, knowledge exchanges and rapid climate risk for vulnerability assessments, ideally carried out in collaboration with a non-government partner.

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the Commonwealth Secretary General, Hon Patricia Scotland said the Commonwealth Blue Charter Incubator is a critical step forward in supporting countries in the delivery of their ocean commitments, including those under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) as well as their Nationally Determined Contributions.

With 49 out of the 56 member countries bordering the ocean, including 25 small developing states, the Commonwealth accounts for more than one-third of the ocean under the national jurisdiction.

 “I strongly encourage member governments to take advantage of this call for applications and submit robust proposals that support the development of sustainable blue economies, while addressing one of the greatest global challenges of our time-climate change,” she pointed out.

According to the Blue Nicholas Hardman-Mountford, Head of Oceans and Natural Resources at the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Blue Charter Project Incubator will provide a vehicle for all Commonwealth governments to pilot innovative solutions addressing their most urgent national priorities for ocean sustainability and resilience, learn from each other’s experiences and build capacity for implementation.

“With ocean action and marine conservation SDG14 being the least funded among all the Sustainable Development Goals, this is an important contribution that recognizes the role of our ocean as the world’s largest carbon sink and a home to the majority of Earth’s living species,” he said.

For countries to benefit the incubation funding they must be a member of at least one of the 10 Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups or indicate their commitments to join.

The Commonwealth Blue Charter is an agreement by all 56 Commonwealth nations to work actively together to address some of the world’s most pressing ocean challenges.

It is implemented through ten country-led action groups focusing on key thematic areas; coral reef restoration, mangrove ecosystems, and livelihoods, marine plastic pollution, marine protected area, ocean acidification, ocean climate action, ocean observation, sustainable aquaculture, sustainable blue economy and sustainable coastal fisheries.

Dr. Jeff Ardron, who leads the Commonwealth Blue Charter Programme at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said Blue Charter Project Incubator is a ‘one-stop shop for countries and their partners working on ocean issues.

It supports the full lifecycle of the project development, from new ideas through to proven approaches, and everything in between”

The Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator is supported by an initial contribution from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation, with additional support from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Vibrant Oceans Initiative.

Countries must apply for the grant before 10th January 2023 according to the Commonwealth.