The Bluefinance project: Using the Private Sector to help conserve and protect marine ecosystems
Since September 2015, the SPAW-RAC has been actively involved with a new and innovative project called Bluefinance. This 5 years initiative is dedicated to the development of long term financing instruments for marine conservation, by involving the private sector from the Tourism industry in particular.
Many recent studies have confirmed that total funding for protected areas and biodiversity conservation has to be increased dramatically to achieve the targets set at national levels. Today, 80% of biodiversity finance is generated from public sector mechanisms. Although these mechanisms could scale-up in the future, market-based mechanisms have a greater potential to increase in scale. The marine and coastal environment have limited practical experience of financing biodiversity with private sector and, to date, few tourism or private co-funded marine reserves are reported. The real potential of such instruments has to be demonstrated and many aspects have to be analyzed to propose concrete funding opportunities adapted to the “for-profit” supply side and compatible with conservation targets.
The Bluefinance project was designed in this context, in order to provide empirical experiences of conservation funding mechanisms with impact investors and tourism industry. By analyzing the investor perspective, it seeks to develop challenging business models, balancing financial bottom line with conservation objectives.
The Bluefinance team is therefore testing new solutions for Marine Protected Areas financing through a portfolio of projects developing financing mechanisms for conservation and management. In the Caribbean Region, the first in a series of demonstration sites is located in Barbados. This island relies heavily on the Tourism Industry which is an extremely well informed and active sector. There, the project focuses on the creation of a co-managed marine area : the Barbados Marine Managed Area, through a Public and Private Partnership (PPP) between a consortium of local businesses and impact investors, and the Government of Barbados.
The Bluefinance project in Barbados is implemented by Bluefinance Economics for Coral Reef Ecosystems (ECRE), an NGO whose primary focus is the development of economic instruments for marine biodiversity, under the coordination of the SPAW-RAC and funded primarily by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) through the Global Coral Reef Partnership, Other partners include GRID ARENDAL, BlueSolutions, the Blue Solutions project, IFRECOR (the French Initiative for Coral Reef) and the Organisation of American States .
The Blue finance team brings expertise and experiences in conservation finance, integrated coastal management, marine ecology, environmental economy, international cooperation and private equity finance. For more information on this project, please get in touch with Julie Belmont at the SPAW-RAC.
Have a look below on our last Bluefinance Newsletter!
You will see the progresses made towards the creation of the Barbados Marine Managed Area, find information on our growing links with the Caribbean Challenge Initiative and discover the BF new pilote site in Saint Kitts & Nevis!