The World Bank claimed that “numerous” ocean-focused NGOs “have expressed support for the new alliance.” Unfortunately, most of the groups mentioned, including Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy and Oceana, are notorious for their top-down, “collaborative” approach to “solving” ocean problems – and excluding input from indigenous communities around the globe.
“As the world’s population grows to 9 billion people by 2050, the demand for food and other resources will double,” said Conservation International Chief Executive Officer Peter Seligmann. “It is in the enlightened self interest of all nations and all communities to wisely steward our oceans. Humanity needs the oceans to thrive. Collaboration is essential.”
President of The Nature Conservancy, Mark Tercek claimed, “There is an urgent need to scale up the pace of ocean conservation around the world by bringing together a wide range of partners who are vested in the oceans; the World Bank’s leadership and commitment is a huge step forward towards achieving this. This is a tremendous opportunity for countries to realize tangible benefits – jobs, livelihoods, and economic development – by managing their oceans in a way that builds their natural capital.”
The press release failed to note that these organizations are funded by Walmart. In an August 16, 2011 news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced “investments” totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives in 2010.
The foundation handed over $36 million alone to Marine Conservation grantees. The three top recipients of the Walton Foundation money for ocean “protection” were Conservation International, $18,640,917; the Nature Conservancy,$9,305,449; and Environmental Defense Fund $7,086,054.
The Nature Conservancy in California is a strong backer of state and federal plans to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies. Peripheral canal opponents, including recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Delta residents, family farmers and California Indian Tribes, believe the construction of the canal would result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and southern resident killer whales.
Rob Walton and Stewart Resnick serve on Conservation International board
Walmart CEO Rob Walton, through his Walton Family Foundation, not only dumped $18,640,917 into the coffers of Conservational International, but he is chairman of the executive committee of the organization’s Board of Directors (http://www.conservation.org/about/team/bod).
Walton serves on the board of Conservation International with fellow billionaire Stewart A. Resnick, Chairman of the Board of Roll International Corporation, who is the largest tree fruit grower in the world and one of the biggest recipients of subsidized water from the imperiled California Delta.
While making a tidy profit from selling his subsidized water back to the public, Resnick has waged a relentless campaign to divert more water from the Delta through the peripheral canal and has done everything in his power to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other listed species.
Resnick’s Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, an agribusiness “Astroturf” group, has also spent a great deal of effort in litigation attempting to eradicate striped bass from the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary by falsely claiming that “striped bass,” rather than water exports, are the cause of Delta smelt and salmon declines. For more information, go to: http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2011/11/09/public-voices-100-percent-opposition-to-striped-bass-reduction-plan.
Unleashing private investment is the ‘solution’
Other supporters of the new alliance highlighted the need for improved governance to improve oceans management, and “unleash greater private investment in sustainable ocean enterprises.”
“Almost all the challenges facing ocean sustainability stem from governance and market failures,” said Andrew Hudson, Head, UNDP Water & Ocean Governance Programme.
“Our experience has been that supporting ocean governance reform at all levels creates an enabling environment that can in turn catalyze sizeable quantities of public and private sector finance to sustain ocean ecosystem services. The Global Partnership for Oceans provides a key means of implementation to scale up proven approaches,” he stated.
Support for the Global Partnership for Oceans includes: a number of developed and developing countries and country groupings, including island nations; non-government organizations and advocacy bodies like Conservation International, Environmental Defense Fund, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy, Oceana, Rare and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Support also includes science bodies like the US’s National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); private investors like Paine & Partners and industry groups like the National Fisheries Institute, and the World Ocean Council whose members rely on sustainable seafood supplies or are dependent on ocean resources; international organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), The Global Environment Facility, Global Ocean Forum, GRID Arendal (Norway), the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the World Bank Group.
There is no doubt that if you like the MLPA Initiative and catch shares program, you’ll really love the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans!
For more information, go to: http://www.globalpartnershipforoceans.org