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Sunday, February 25, 2024

US announces $6 billion funding for ocean protection at Panama conference

The United States pledged Friday at the world oceans conference in Panama to commit nearly $6 billion to protect the seas and combat threats such as pollution and illegal fishing.

“During the conference, the United States made 77 announcements, from 8 agencies and offices, worth nearly $6 billion,” the U.S. Embassy in Panama said in a statement.

“We are undertaking many different initiatives to have the greatest possible impact,” John Kerry, the White House envoy for climate affairs, told foreign press correspondents in Panama.

The note does not specify the period in which these disbursements will be made, but emphasizes that the amount is “more than double” what the United States promised at last year’s “Our Ocean” conference.

Kerry, who participated in this meeting, had advanced on Thursday that Washington was going to allocate some $6 billion to protect the oceans, although without giving details.

“The reason for the increase is that we passed the American Inflation Reduction Act, which invested a lot of money in fighting the climate crisis, and the result is that we have a greater capacity to undertake initiatives that will have a climate impact,” Kerry said.

Of the total, nearly $5 billion will go to address climate change, according to the statement. Of that, it will allocate “$2.6 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds to build lasting climate resilience of marine resources and coastal communities.”

It will also allocate more than USD 665 million to develop sustainable fisheries, more than 200 to anti-pollution programs, 73 to blue economy programs, 72 for maritime security and 11 in protected areas, according to the text.

Kerry also announced on Thursday the creation of a maritime conservation “corridor” in the Tropical Pacific, with the participation of his country, Panama and Fiji. France joined the initiative.

The amount allocated by the United States is in addition to 800 million euros (about 865 million dollars) announced on Thursday by the European Union.

The “Our Ocean” conference, attended by more than 600 experts, officials and philanthropists from around the world, culminated this Friday.

In total, 341 commitments were made by governments, with funds of almost 20 billion dollars, to protect the marine ecosystem.

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