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Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Donates $1 Million For Ocean Conservation Through Debt-For-Nature Swap

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After winning his very first Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards last month, Leonardo DiCaprio moves on to his next venture by donating $1 million to help fund a conservation project aimed at protecting oceans around the small African nation of the Seychelles.

DiCaprio, who has been a long-time supporter of efforts at combating the effects of climate change and protecting the world's oceans, made the donation to the non-profit group Nature Conservancy through his own foundation.

Known as a "debt for oceans conservation swap," the project focuses on providing the Seychelles with a $21.4 million loan at low interest to help protect its surrounding waters as well as to create one of the largest marine sanctuaries in the West Indian Ocean.

Matt Brown, Nature Conservancy's conservation director for Africa, explained that government of the Seychelles is committed to keeping a large portion of the ocean protected through the proper management of its marine resources in the next five years.

The deal serves as an important step toward achieving the goal of conserving the ocean as well as a model for similar agreements in other parts of the world.

The conservation project came about as a result of partnerships between several groups, including the Finance Ministry of the Seychelles, private organizations and even the Seychelles' creditor countries such as France.

Aside from the $21.4 million loan provided to the Seychellois government, Nature Conservancy was also able to secure $5 million worth of additional funds collected from private groups such as the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Turnbull Burnstein Family Charitable Fund, the Oak Foundation, the Waitt Foundation, the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Foundation and the China Global Conservation Fund.

"I'm proud my foundation is partnering with Seychelles and The Nature Conservancy on this innovative project that will protect this vital ocean habitat and fragile marine life," DiCaprio said.

DiCaprio added that through the agreement, they will be able to provide better food security for the residents of the Seychelles, curb the harmful impact of global warming on low lying island nations and preserve the richness of ecosystems in the surrounding waters in order to benefit future generations.

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