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Protecting 1 million sq kms through the $15 million WCS Marine Protected Area Fund
by Wildlife Conservation Society (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
The Wildlife Conservation Society Marine Protected Area Fund (WCS MPA Fund) is designed to assist countries meet their U.N.-commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goal 14 to protect 10 percent of coastal and marine waters by 2020. The original goal of the WCS MPA Fund was to invest a minimum of $15 million by 2020 to support legal declaration of new MPAs in 20 countries covering 1 million square kilometers of previously unsecured and unprotected ocean. WCS will deploy funding to support scientific field staff personnel and partnerships with government and NGOs for establishing MPAs that contain four core components:

1. Design: Define spatial priorities based on scientific data on species and ecology.
Activities include: Data collection, data analysis, and spatial analysis that would formulate the evidence-based case to key decision makers.
Key Outputs: Scientific report on spatial priorities for protection, including rationale.

2. Support: Build public support for increased ocean protection.
Activities include: Engage on-the-water stakeholders, local communities, civil society, and relevant government entities to build public support.
Key Outputs: Education materials, campaigns, media, events, digital presence.

3. Declare: Work with appropriate governmental agencies for legal protected status.
Activities include: Assist in the necessary preparation of legally required management plans, legislative or regulatory drafting, and facilitation of legal process.
Key Outputs: Legal decree or regulation for protection, management plans, supporting information.

4. Protect: Implement tools for MPA enforcement and effective management.
Activities include: Training and capacity building in management, enforcement, and monitoring. Promulgate laws and regulations, and implement enforcement tools and technologies. Engage in community and stakeholder outreach.
Key Outputs: Annual reports on the status of species, ecosystems, governance, compliance and enforcement, and stakeholder buy-in to MPAs.

Since the launch of the WCS MPA Fund in September 2016, and as of March 2021, WCS has initiated MPAs establishment in 26 countries, including: Cuba, Thailand, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Mozambique, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Argentina, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the U.S. and Canada.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
December 2020
1 million sq kms of marine and coastal waters in 20 countries protected as MPAs
Financing (in USD)
15,000,000 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
WCS staff and technical expertise will implement the WCS MPA Fund
Basic information
Time-frame: September 2016 - December 2020
Wildlife Conservation Society Waitt Foundation (philanthropic organization) blue moon fund (philanthropic organization) Tiffany & Co. Foundation (philanthropic organization)
Ocean Basins
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Global
  • Indian Ocean
  • South Atlantic
  • South Pacific
  • Southern Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Equatorial Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Republic of Congo
United States of America
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Jeanne Brown, MPA Fund Program Manager, jbrown@wcs.org,
Other SDGs
United Nations