The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced in a press release this week that it will launch new coastal programs valued at more than $170 million in an effort to support impoverished coastal communities.

The announcement occurred at the Our Ocean Conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Such initiatives as sustainable fisheries, marine conservation, the combating of illegal fishing and wildlife trafficking as well as coastal adaptation are elements of the programs. The initiatives are directed toward countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pacific islands and countries.

USAID Assistant Administrator on Economic Growth, Education and Environment Eric Postel noted that nearly 40 percent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of coastline.

“Preserving the earth’s priceless marine life and safeguarding our world’s valuable coastal resources for human use and future generations is vital,” Postel said.

Because over 1 billion people rely upon fish as a protein source, marine and coastal conservation is thought of as crucial to protect current and future generations. Development goals, including food security and nutrition, protection against climate change and poverty reduction, are sought to be addressed through the conservation and management of coastal and marine resources.

Specifically, some of the targeted initiatives of the programs include attempts to help citizens of the Meghna River estuary of Bangladesh, Maldive, Caribbean Pacific Island and Ghana citizens, as well as continued support for the Permanent Secretariat of the Coral Triangle Initiative for Food Security, Fisheries, and Climate Change.

Created by President John F. Kennedy through an executive order in 1961, USAID works to “end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.” Through its work in over 100 countries, the agency works to promote such activities as economic prosperity, education, global health, human rights and food security and agriculture.

— Ethan Safran

Sources: All Africa, USAID 1, USAID 2
Photo: Foreign Policy