Marine conservation finance: The need for and scope of an emerging field
The global oceans contribute to human wellbeing by providing marine ecosystem services, but the ability of the oceans to continue providing these services is jeopardised by anthropogenic impacts. There is a limit to marine conservation that has not been adequately addressed: finance. This paper reviews the state of marine conservation funding, identifies associated challenges, and recommends possible ways forward. We identify five challenges: 1) funding for marine conservation is inadequate in terms of the size, duration, and diversity of revenue, 2) finance mechanisms are under-developed and under-utilised, 3) finance is often disconnected from conservation planning, 4) the environmental side-effects of economic activity increase the gap in global conservation funding, and 5) few individuals and programmes specialise in marine conservation finance and integrate its disparate lines of thinking. We then propose five solutions: 1) financial strategies for marine conservation, 2) increased research on and development of finance mechanisms, 3) integration of financial planning into conservation planning, 4) engagement of businesses in reducing the gap in conservation funding for marine ecosystems, and 5) definition, focus, and specialists for the emerging field of marine conservation finance. Multi-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to reduce the marine conservation-funding gap and sustain marine ecosystem services.
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