The IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme (GMPP) is a team of staff committed to effectively addressing key global challenges in the marine and polar environment. GMPP cooperates with other IUCN thematic and regional programmes and with the IUCN Commissions to ensure that marine and polar ecosystems are maintained and restored in their biodiversity and productivity, and that any use of the resources is sustainable and equitable.  

The IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme was founded over twenty years ago and has unique niche due to its worldwide position that is defined by its “Union” approach to conservation.

GMPP’s work is carried out by a 25-strong team of marine professionals in 10 countries working at various levels. From local fishermen and decision-makers right up to the United Nations General Assembly, the GMPP also works in partnership with a variety of corporations from the private sector on themes such as tourism, offshore renewable energy and minimizing the environmental impacts from coastal oil and gas operations.

Additionally, the GMP works with several Commissions, including the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) – Marine Division, the Species Survival Commissions (SSC) – Specialists Groups, the Marine Conservation sub-committee, and the Commission on Environmental Law (CEL) – Oceans Law and Governance Specialists Group.

On top of this, the IUCN GMPP works extensively with members and partners around the world. This expanding network of marine specialists within IUCN is dedicated to helping create an international framework for marine biodiversity protection.

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  • Over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by Oceans
  • Oceans are home to 80% of the world's biodiversity
  • About half of the Earth's population lives in coastal regions
  • 10% of the Earth's surface is covered with ice
  • Only 2.2% of the world's Oceans are protected
  • The Oceans produce over 50% of the oxygen in the atmosphere