DiCaprio Partners With Nature Conservancy in a Creative Deal for Marine Protection


Rest assured that Leo's passion for the environment did not begin and end at the Oscars.

In case you missed it, the DiCaprio Foundation and the Nature Conservancy recently announced the completion of what is being billed as the first and only debt-for-nature swap, specifically aimed at marine protection.

As a result, it is estimated that that the protected waters off the coast of Seychelles, once reported at less than 1 percent of its waters, has drastically increased to over 30 percent.

In turn, this unique approach by the DiCaprio foundation and the Nature Conservancy has made the waters of the Seychelles the second-largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the West Indian Ocean.

Although DiCaprio's call-to-action speaking appearances have been primarily directed toward issues of climate change, as we've covered here, conservation is a key focus of his grantmaking. So far this year, many of the actor's gifts have been to organizations such as Clearwater, the Rainforest Action Network, and Global Fishing Watch, with over $15 million in grants already given out in 2016.

DiCaprio and the Nature Conservancy's approach in the Seychelles was particularly novel, as the foundation's website points out here, significantly restructuring the country's debt through the assistance of a massive loan from the Nature Conservancy, debt holding nations, grant money from the DiCaprio Foundation and others, all put together will the help of the Seychelles Ministry of Finance.

Payment of the debt will then be funneled to a brand-new local organization called the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, which  will act as overseer for these various environmental and conservation projects, specifically marine-related ones, which is important in an economy dependent on ocean tourism and fisheries.

In total, this effort provides the Seychelles with debt relief and a dedicated effort to protect and prolong  it's most vital natural resource. The country also joins a growing list of nations (New Zealand, Kiribati, Palau Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States) whose governments have pledged to protect millions of kilometers of ocean.