Green bonds needed to make underfunded and understaffed MPAs work, Planet Tracker says

Published on
April 14, 2022
Seventy percent of the world’s marine protected areas are falling short of their conservation goals due to poor management and a lack of funds, according to a new Planet Tracker study.

Seventy percent of the world’s marine protected areas are falling short of their conservation goals due to poor management and a lack of funds, according to a new Planet Tracker study.

Two-thirds of MPAs currently have inadequate budgets to meet basic management needs, while nine in 10 have inadequate staffing capacity, according to research the nonprofit financial think tank. An estimated USD 100 billon (EUR 92 billion) annual funding gap is one of the main reasons for the issues with MPAs, it said.

François Mosnier, the head of Planet Tracker’s Oceans Program, introduced a proposal in March at the Convention of Biological Diversity in Geneva, Switzerland, calling for a new green bond based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas.

“A certification of conservation efficiency, this global sustainability standard could be used in creative financial instruments,” he said. “These bonds link funding requirements to conservation objectives, with progress tracked by IUCN’s robust, scalable assurance mechanism.”

Funding from investors allows protected areas to achieve conservation efficiency, and therefore to join the IUCN Green List, Mosnier said.

“On receipt of Green List status, investors are refunded plus interest by the relevant authority,” Mosnier said.

Political differences have been a factor in the designation and management of MPAs. Both China and Russia have declined to support the establishment of new MPAs in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, a region supervised by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Photo courtesy of Planet Tracker

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