The Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme has opened a call for expressions of interest (EoI) for Seascape Restoration Grants within European regional seas. The dedicated seascapes funding will support projects that aim to restore degraded seascapes, making them richer in biodiversity and more resilient to climate change and other pressures. Grants of US$1.5 to 5 million will be awarded for five–year marine restoration projects, as well as medium-size grants of US$750K to 1.5 million for national organisations aiming to grow their expertise and ambition in seascape recovery. For details and to check your eligibility please read the guidance document. If you have an impactful and ambitious seascape restoration project submit your EoI using our online form by 22:59 GMT on the 30th April 2024.
“No water, no life. No blue, no green.” The famous quote from legendary marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle underscores a fundamental challenge facing marine restoration efforts. The diverse habitats and species below the waves are out of sight and out of mind for the vast majority of people, despite them providing fundamental ecosystem services on which we all depend. Green has tended to come before blue in global efforts to halt the alarming loss of biodiversity. One way this is reflected is funding. A 2020 analysis found that 86% of funding for restoration in Europe in the decade 2010-2020 was committed to terrestrial ecosystems, compared to just 11% for marine ecosystems.
While the recognition of the importance of our oceans is undoubtably growing, European seas are already highly disturbed and degraded through extensive human activity. The Mediterranean, for example, is considered the world’s most overfished sea, and more broadly the combined effects from multiple human pressures have spread to 96% of the European marine area, with physical disturbance particularly intense in coastal waters. The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 emphasises the need for stronger action to restore degraded marine ecosystems, and the Global Biodiversity Framework reflects the urgency with an ambitious target to restore 30 per cent of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030.
Building on a growing number of impactful projects already supported across Europe, the Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme was gifted an additional US$72 million by Arcadia in 2023 to implement a third phase of restoration projects. This includes over $31 million dedicated specifically for grants to restore European seas. The Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme is already supporting two seascape-scale marine restoration projects, on Türkiye’s turquoise coast and in the Solent Seascape in the UK. Those blue pioneers are providing inspiring examples of what can be achieved in restoring marine ecosystems. The new funding call launched today will significantly increase the breadth of marine restoration activities supported by the Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme, contributing to Europe-wide efforts to move beyond protecting our seas from further damage to enabling them to recover and increase their resilience to the future impacts of climate change.
Restoring marine biodiversity and natural ecosystem processes in Europe at a seascape scale is challenging and relatively un-tested so the new projects will be at the vanguard of restoration efforts which are so vital as we approach the mid-point of both the UN Decade on Restoration and the UN Ocean Decade. These projects will be important contributors to restoring seascapes for life, providing both crucial learning and inspiration to spur marine restoration forwards.
Note also that a new call for Landscape Restoration Grants will launch in 2025.
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