Packard Foundation Pledges $480 Million to Ocean Conservation Over the Next Five Years
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Packard Foundation Pledges $480 Million to Ocean Conservation Over the Next Five Years

By CASEY FARMER
Mon, Apr 29, 2024 9:25amGrey Clock 2 min

Over the next five years, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will be committing US$480 million to an initiative dedicated to ocean conservation.

The foundation made the announcement on April 17 during the closing ceremony of the ninth Our Ocean Conference, held in Athens, Greece.

“Ocean science and conservation are core to the Packard Foundation’s DNA,” wrote Meg Caldwell, interim vice president of environment and science, in an email. “The next phase of the Packard Foundation’s commitment to ocean health, the 10-year (2023-33) Ocean Initiative, aims to protect and restore ocean ecosystems for people and nature, now and in the future.”

The support from the funding will be focused in four countries, Chile, China, the U.S., and Indonesia, which were selected because of their “biological significance, human dependence on ocean ecosystems, and opportunities to affect positive changes,” Caldwell says.

The foundation’s ocean initiative will specifically address three primary threats: climate change, unsustainable overfishing, and habitat loss. These issues not only harm ocean ecosystems, but also the countless people who rely on the ocean for “their livelihoods, nutrition, and cultural heritage, disproportionately impacting Indigenous peoples and coastal communities,” Caldwell says.

Caldwell emphasises the need to include these groups of people in the conversations and actions regarding ocean conservation.

“Weak governance and seafood supply chains that put profit ahead of people compound these threats, allowing human rights abuses and inequities to persist,” she says.

The foundation plans to address these threats by funding work within three systems: civil society, to strengthen “the engagement of ocean-reliant communities” to create more inclusive solutions; seafood supply chains, to end illegal fishing, overfishing, and human rights abuses; and governance, to enact reform that will protect both the ocean and the reliant communities.

The Packard Foundation is also a part of the Ocean Resilience and Climate Alliance, which is a philanthropic initiative working to address the climate crisis and its damage to the ocean. ORCA’s mission is “to provide a surge of more than US$250 million dollars in grants over four years to catalyze work across a handful of immediate ocean-climate priorities,” according to their website.



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The consumer price index (CPI) rose in April to an annual rate of 3.6 percent, which was 0.1 percent higher than in March, raising doubts about an interest rate cut this year as inflation starts looking stickier than expected. This is the second consecutive month of small rises, potentially indicating that Australia is experiencing the same stalled progress in bringing inflation down that is being seen in the United States, as both nations approach their central banks’ target inflation bands.

In Australia, the target inflation band is 2 to 3 percent, with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) aiming to achieve the midpoint under its new agreement with the Federal Government following a formal review. In its interest rate decision-making, the RBA does not give as much weight to the monthly inflation data because not all prices are measured like they are in the quarterly data. On a quarterly basis, inflation has continued to fall. In the March quarter, the annual rate of inflation was 3.6 percent, down from 4.1 percent in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

CBA economist Stephen Wu noted the April data was above the bank’s forecast of 3.5 percent as well as the industrywide consensus forecast of 3.4 percent. He predicts the next leg down in inflation won’t be until the September quarter, when we will see the effects of electricity rebates and a likely smaller minimum wage increase to be announced by the Fair Work Commission next month compared to June 2023.

The most significant contributor to the April inflation rise were housing costs, which rose 4.9 percent on an annual basis. This reflects a continuing rise in weekly rents amid near-record low vacancy rates across the country, as well as significantly higher labour and materials costs which builders are passing on to the buyers of new homes, as well as renovators.

The second biggest contributor was food and non-alcoholic beverages, up 3.8 percent annually, reflecting higher prices for fruit and vegetables in April. The ABS said unfavourable weather led to a reduced supply of berries, bananas and vegetables such as broccoli. The annual rate of inflation for alcohol and tobacco rose by 6.5 percent, and transport rose by 4.2 percent due to higher fuel prices.

Robert Carnell, the Asia Pacific head of research at ING, said they no longer expect a rate cut this year after seeing the April data. Mr Carnell said an increase in trend inflation was apparent and “rate cuts this year look unlikely”. In the RBA’s latest monetary policy statement, published before the April CPI was released, it said: “Inflation is expected to be higher in the near term than previously thought due to the stronger labour market and higher petrol prices. But inflation is still expected to return to the target range in the second half of 2025 and to reach the midpoint in 2026.”

 

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