This report provides the most comprehensive review of funding for marine conservation over the past decade (2010-2020). To prepare this research, Our Shared Seas analyzed ocean funding across four sources: philanthropy, development aid, NGO discretionary funding (e.g., non-foundation funding), and private finance. This section features key takeaways from the research.
In 2019, approximately USD 3.1 billion in funding was allocated to marine conservation globally from philanthropic, development aid, NGO discretionary funding, and private finance sources.
Funding for marine issues by source, in 2016 (USD) placeholder
Funding levels for marine conservation from philanthropy and official development assistance (ODA) have been roughly comparable in size over the past decade.
Total ocean-related grants from philanthropic and ODA sources, 2010–2019 (USD)
Philanthropic funding for marine conservation has doubled over the past decade, from roughly USD 520 million in 2010 to USD 1.2 billion in 2020.
Philanthropic ocean-related grantmaking (2010–2020)
New entrants into the sector and growing commitments from existing funders are driving the increase in ocean funding over the past decade.
New funders are expanding the resources available in support of marine conservation work globally, and a subset of emerging funders are playing an influential role in the landscape by contributing a significant share of total grantmaking. In parallel, several existing funders have also expanded their commitments for marine conservation in recent years.
Top 20 Marine Philanthropic Funders, 2010-2020 (USD)
Over the past decade, top areas of marine grantmaking have included science (21 percent) and protected areas and habitat protection (17 percent). Ocean-climate is an emerging area of grantmaking. Funding for this issue grew from USD 3.6 million in 2010 to nearly USD 50 million in 2020.
Marine philanthropic funding by issue area (2010-2020)
Marine conservation grantmaking has historically allocated a large proportion of funding to global initiatives (40 percent) and work focused on North America (32 percent). Over the past decade, an increased proportion of marine funding (15 percent) was allocated to Asia. Funding to Africa remains limited, at less than 3 percent of philanthropic funding.
Proportion of philanthropic funding by geography (2010–2020)
|Location||Total Funding (2010–2020)||% of Funding||Average Annual Growth Rate|