Walton Family Foundation pledges USD 32 million for Indonesia project

Published on
March 7, 2017

The Walton Family Foundation has outlined its five-year strategy for building sustainable fisheries across Indonesia, announcing USD 32 million (EUR 30.2 million) in investments through the end of 2020 in initiatives that partner the federal and regional governments, local partners, NGOs and businesses to advance fishing policies and practices that align Indonesia’s environmental, social and economic interests.

The announcement by the foundation, which was created by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton and which in September 2016 announced a USD 250 million (EUR 224 million) commitment to marine conservation, was made at the World Ocean Summit in Bali, Indonesia in February. The summit, hosted by the Economist, is designed to bring businesses, industry groups, scientists, governments, environmentalists and philanthropies together to identify effective ways to create local, regional and global shifts from conventional ocean economies to a “blue” economy that boosts both ocean health and economic prosperity.

The Walton Family Foundation’s investments in Indonesia will support management reforms for fisheries selected as being of particular economic and social significance, including blue swimming crab, tuna and snapper-grouper. The foundation said its top priorities will be: improving the ability of Indonesian fishery management agencies to use strong scientific information and tools as the basis for making decisions; supporting the implementation of rights-based fisheries management to secure long-term rights for local fishing communities; and implementing changes at every level of the supply chain so that seafood and fishing businesses are rewarded for adopting sustainable practices.

“Through our work in Indonesia over the past 10 years, we have learned that fishing smarter, not harder, at sustainable levels is the best way to make fisheries more plentiful and generate economic security for fishing communities,” said Rob Walton, chair of the foundation’s environment committee. “Every morning millions of Indonesian fishermen head out in small boats, many without motors, to make a living and feed their families. We are proud to continue our investments in Indonesia to improve its long-term economic prosperity while also protecting the health of the ocean.”

The Walton Family Foundation is also currently working on fisheries projects in the United States, Mexico, Peru and Chile. It said it chose to work in Indonesia as that country’s seafood industry is the second-largest in the world, generating USD 5 billion (EUR 4.7 billion) in export revenue and employing more than nine million people, and the foundation said studies have estimated the country’s fishing industry could generate USD 2.3 billion (EUR 2.2 billion) more in revenue if its fisheries were sustainably managed.

“This investment is a direct result of the Indonesian government’s leadership and commitment to advancing sustainable fishing practices,” said Walton Family Foundation Environment Program Director Barry Gold. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and the fishermen throughout the country so that these critical fisheries continue to thrive.”

Gold said in an email that the foundation had also launched a new partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve Indonesia’s marine biodiversity conservation through better monitoring of deep-water fisheries and management of ocean resources. The foundation will support USAID’s current marine resource conservation activities in Indonesia: the Indonesia Sustainable Ecosystem Advanced (SEA) and Supporting Nature and People – Partnership for Enduring Resources (SNAPPER).

The foundation is also supporting the Blue Abadi Fund, a marine conservation trust that provides financial aid so local communities can sustainably manage marine protected areas within the Bird’s Head Seascape.

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