A voyage to UNDP-supported marine protected areas around the world

In the turquoise seas of the western Indian Ocean, a coelacanth drifts slowly and deliberately through underwater caves hidden deep beneath the volcanic islands of the Comoros archipelago. These enigmatic prehistoric fishes — once thought to be extinct — have survived for over 70 million years in the warm, temperate waters off the coasts of Africa and Indonesia. What does the future hold for these animals? It depends on the measures we take to protect ocean ecosystems, the millions of species that live in them, and the people who depend on them.

From the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current off the coasts of Chile and Peru, and the coastal fishing grounds of Turkey and India, to the spectacular coral reefs of the tropical seas of the Indian Ocean, and the mangrove swamps of Tonga in the South Pacific, Sea, My Life: Protecting Oceans, Sustaining our Future explores GEF/UNDP’s work to expand and strengthen marine protected areas in developing countries.

Written in the style of an oceanic travel magazine, the reader sets sail on a mesmerizing journey around the world. Visiting myriad countries that promote the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystems while facilitating the establishment of effectively managed marine protected areas, the reader witnesses their multiple global and local development benefits in support of SDG 14 and other SDGs — as well as global biodiversity targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

A diverse set of case studies presents the work of a wide range of GEF-financed and UNDP-supported projects that make a clear case for further investment in marine protected areas to restore the health of oceanic and coastal ecosystems, strengthen resilience in the face of climate change, sustain fisheries and other economic activities, and improve the lives of the world’s poorest communities.