Global Ocean Legacy Partners

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The establishment of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872 marked a new way of thinking about the land and the need to protect it. Today, more than 1,800 land-based parks exist in nearly 100 countries. Global Ocean Legacy has adapted this bold vision for the oceans, creating parks in the sea. 

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Founded in 2006, Global Ocean Legacy is an ambitious group of philanthropic partners who teamed up with Pew to seek the creation of the world’s first permanently protected large marine reserves. The founding partners, which included Oak Foundation, The Robertson Foundation, and the Sandler Foundation, understood they would have greater leverage and opportunity to accomplish their goals if they combined resources and shared expertise.

Today, the partnership comprises Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Lyda Hill Foundation, Oak Foundation, The Robertson Foundation, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, and the Waitt Foundation. “It’s a natural fit to be part of a collaboration sharing risk and information and providing and receiving advice regarding our own work,” says Jacob James, managing director of the Waitt Foundation.

Global Ocean Legacy’s goal is to establish 15 marine parks by 2022. Seven reserves have been designated so far, protecting more than 3.4 million square kilometers (around 1.4 million square miles). Global Ocean Legacy partners meet regularly to chart the project’s progress.

“We believe Global Ocean Legacy’s work to establish marine protected areas in the sea is akin to the United States’ great national parks on land and is improving the health of oceans worldwide,” says Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. “We are particularly impressed by the program’s emphasis on collaboration. Before pursuing the establishment of a reserve, Global Ocean Legacy consults with local communities, nonprofits, political leaders, and conservation specialists, lending site-specific perspectives and credibility throughout the process.”

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