Connect to Protect Coalition invests over USD 118+ million in CMAR

March 02, 2023

The financing includes USD 1 million disbursed by CAF, and will help protect the marine biodiversity of this corridor shared by Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama, which generates USD 3 billion annually mainly from fishing, tourism and maritime transport.

Connect to Protect adds USD 118 million to CMAR protection

The Connect to Protect Eastern Tropical Pacific coalition, which includes CAF, Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Nature Alliance and GCF, among others, pledged USD 118.5 million in public and private funds in 2022 for marine conservation in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama. These funds will improve protection of CMAR, which is home to one of the most biologically diverse and highly productive areas of the ocean. The funds will be disbursed over the course of four years.

CAF’s funds amount to USD 1 million, and will promote joint strategies involving the governments of the four countries, civil society, international cooperation organizations, and NGOs. The biodiversity of the Marine Corridor, which includes coral areas, passage of large migrant marine fauna, reptiles and a great number of sharks, has a close relationship with the great cultural and tourist offer of customs, gastronomy and crafts. In this connection, sustainable tourism will also be promoted.

The coalition is comprised of philanthropic, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and works alongside elected leaders, communities, indigenous groups, government officials and scientists, in order to provide technical and financial assistance in support of marine protection management. It also promotes collaboration on regional transparency, monitoring and enforcement, as well as strengthening regional commitment to create a transboundary biosphere reserve.

The reserve will connect and protect the marine environments of Cocos Island (Costa Rica), the Coiba Mountain Range (Panama), the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Gorgona and the Malpelo Islands (Colombia), which cover more than 500,000 square kilometers of ocean. The coalition’s commitment also supports the four countries’ efforts to meet the new global biodiversity target, to protect at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Our Ocean 2023 Conference in Panama City, and is in line with the coalition’s commitment made at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2022. 

The Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor is a swimming route for many migratory species that travel between MPAs. It is a biologically and ecologically important area where humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, olive ridley and leatherback turtles and seabirds migrate, feed and nest. These ocean waters, however, are threatened by climate change, overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, marine pollution and the increase in coastal development.