Pristine Seas: Our Last Best Chance to Protect 30% of the Ocean for the Benefit of Humanity

National Geographic Society

This project will help to double current ocean protection, thereby safeguarding marine biodiversity and improving food provision, while mitigating climate change through carbon storage.

Last Updated: January 2022
DOWNLOAD: Project Factsheet
Two-page overview of proposal
Competition Participation
100 & Change logo
Climate Change & Environment
Current Work Location(s):
  • Bendje District, Province de l’Ogooué-Maritime, Gabon
  • Bahía de Banderas, Estado de Nayarit, Mexico
  • Corvo, Azores, Portugal
  • Provincia de Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
  • Niue
  • Provincia de Magallanes, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
  • Seenu Atholhu, Maldives
  • Sokehs Municipality, State of Pohnpei, Micronesia
  • Caroline, Line Islands, Kiribati
  • Bikar Atoll, Marshall Islands
Priority Population(s):
  • Children and youth
  • Adults
  • Indigenous peoples
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 2. Zero hunger
  • 12. Responsible consumption and production
  • 14. Life below water

Executive Summary

Without the ocean, human life on Earth would be impossible. It provides food, oxygen, climate regulation, and livelihoods for billions around the world. But human activities are depleting ocean biodiversity and bringing the ocean to a tipping point, beyond which we may never recover. The loss of biodiversity—together with climate change—is the most urgent global crisis affecting our planet.

Our part of the solution is the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) where fishing and other damaging activities are banned. By helping the ocean recover in MPAs, we can accomplish three things we desperately need to do: restore biodiversity, capture carbon and help mitigate climate change, and increase our food supply.

Despite their multiple benefits, only 7% of the ocean is in MPAs. Studies suggest that we must protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030 (30x30).

Since 2008, Pristine Seas has helped create 23 MPAs worldwide, covering a total area twice the size of India. With MacArthur’s support, we will work with a novel coalition of world-class partners, local communities and governments to establish 40 new MPAs, and spearhead a worldwide network of partners to reach the critical threshold of 30x30.

This decade is humanity’s last best chance to prevent the collapse of our life support system. Strategic investment now by the MacArthur Foundation to achieve the 30x30 goal will deliver enormous long-term benefits for humanity. No child has a future without healthy natural systems. The moment to act is now.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

National Geographic Society

website: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/
Organization ID
Number of Full-time Employees
301 to 500
Annual Operating Budget
$100.1 to 500 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

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