Since the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, China’s non-profit sector have been booming. Data show that, as of the end of December 2015, the country has a total of 658,000 social organizations. Compared with 606,000 in 2014, this increased by 8.6%, including 326,000 associations, 4719 foundations, 327,000 NGOs. When we look at the allocation of these philanthropic resources, most of them are concentrated in education, medical fields or children’s groups. There is very limited resource for the marine environmental protection and sustainable development. This is subject to the early stage of philanthropy in China, as well as the fact that the overall Chinese understanding and concerns about the ocean remains low.
Since the 18th National Congress, China’s society has begun to pay more and more attention to marine protection and development. Along with the Belt and Road Initiative, “ocean” has become an unavoidable topic in Chinese ordinary people’s life. In fact, with the continuous social and economic development in the past few decades, we have deepened the utilization of marine resources, and brought the increasing pollution of marine environment, whose consequences have adversely affected both the earth and human beings.
Growing Chinese NGOs are increasingly concerned about the challenges facing people and the oceans, but often the lack of expertise and practical experience in marine-related fields, as well as decentralization of similar organizations, insufficient communication and collaboration, and difficulty to effectively integrate social resources, constraint NGOs from improving the marine environment more efficiently and effectively.
With the support from a couple of foundations and NGOs, by the end of 2015, Shanghai Rendu Marine NPO Development Center (Rendu) and China Blue Sustainability Institute (ChinaBlue) jointly founded the “China Ocean NGO Forum”. Given that the first forum was a great success, in the past two years, China’s ocean NGOs have raised more and more public attention. Ocean ecological and environmental issues received a lot of media coverage, more and more domestic and foreign NGOs and charitable foundations also began working in ocean related areas.
Nevertheless, groups concerned with the development of marine conservation and marine ecological civilization are still a minority. In the context of today’s sustainable use of marine resources, we need to raise the Chinese awareness on the ocean. We need to raise the resources to use multimedia power and social resources to support the solution of marine environmental problems. Therefore, Dive4Love, a Shenzhen-based NGO to restore coral, along with GoalBlue and the two founders (Rendu and Chilean fishing) formed an alliance. The second Forum will be held in Dapeng New District, Shenzhen, at the end of August 2017, and is supported by the local government and foundations, including Packard Foundation, Oak Foundation, and SEE Foundation, etc.
The Forum is committed to creating a constructive environment for the China ocean NGOs, offering win-win solutions to industry, laying the foundation for the long-term and stable development of these organizations, promoting their cross-border learning and development. Government, enterprises and scientific research institutions are also strengthened in cooperation and jointly promote China’s ocean environmental protection and sustainable development.