Investing in Coral Reefs and the Blue Economy
Allocated by Joint SDG Fund (USD)
Total Funding (USD)
Financial Leverage (USD)
Fiji is a biodiversity hotspot for corals, with diverse formations estimated to cover approximately 6,704 km2. Fijian society is intertwined and interlinked with these fragile ecosystems. Coral reefs are the most exploited marine ecosystem in Fiji, providing food security for households from artisanal fisheries and income to tourism businesses. Fiji’s island communities often rely on small-scale commercial and subsistence fishing, getting about 75% of their dietary protein from the ocean. Coral degradation is threatening coral reefs, marine biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide to Fiji's population. The compounded effects of overfishing, coastal development and climate change stressors are the drivers of degredation. Urgent investment is necessary to pursue active adaptation strategies to save the reefs from climate change and anthropogenic threats. Despite the commercial viability of blue economy initiatives, neither public nor private funding is currently invested.
The programme will create blended finance facilities and a future pipeline of bankable projects, by combining technical assistance, performance-based grants and concessional loans. The programme features unique public-private partnerships that bring together a local investment manager and conservation actors, financial institutions, the local government, and the UN system. The programme will first focus on three innovative transactions. The first will make market ready to private investment 10 Locally Managed Marine Areas through a special purpose vehicle structure and viable business models featuring eco-tourism, visitor center, sustainable fisheries and blue carbon credits. Second, US$14 million of private and public capital will be blended to fund a sanitary landfill before replication across the country. The third is a direct investment in an eco-fertilizer factory.
The Programme will directly impact marine conservation and the health of coral reef and other marine ecosystems (SDG 14), co-create coastal sustainable economies (SDG 8), and leverage innovative public and private partnerships (SDG 17). The programme's specific targets include 30 marine protected areas effectively managed in Fiji by 2030; 30,000 ha of coral reef ecosystems protected; food security and income improved for over 6,000 fishers, 30,000MT GHG emissions reduced per year; 0.5ha of mangrove forest loss avoided per year; 560MT of fish stock increase per 1000ha; and US$1 billion tourism loss avoided per year.
Resilient infrastructure is not only about building roads or bridges or power plants, but it also addresses the fundamental needs of people, enabling them to live a dignified life. Infrastructure faces increasing risks from natural disasters and a changing climate, leading to systemic failures that result in people being unable to go to work or receive timely medical care or education. These disruptions caused by natural and man-made hazards, as well as poor maintenance and mismanagement of infrastructure, cost at least USD $390 billion a year in low- and middle-income economies.
The need to adapt and invest in resilience is an urgent priority. On average, the net benefit of investing in resilient infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries would be $4.2 trillion with $4 in benefit for each $1 invested. Investments in resilient infrastructure systems are only possible if the right financing is made available at the right time.
People and Health
The effects of the pandemic hit all developing countries, but specific characteristics make some countries more vulnerable than others. The World Health Organization recognized that the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age significantly shape and affect their health. To achieve the 2030 Agenda, governments need to accelerate economic development in a way that will allow better access to healthcare and other basic services. To ensure people stay healthy, it is essential to address the social determinants of health and empower vulnerable groups from minorities to adolescents and women.
Access to essential services for vulnerable groups, and particularly women, can be facilitated through solutions that promote entrepreneurship and self-empowerment. Improvements in health security can be achieved by strengthening core public health functions, but also by smartly investing in systems that cater to preparedness and response, as well as innovative approaches (like telemedicine and digital access, energy-efficient vaccine cold chains, to name a few).
Agriculture and Food Security
With rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity, the number of undernourished people has dropped by almost half in the new Millenium. However, after years of steady decline in malnutrition, numbers are on the rise once again. Current estimates show that nearly 9 percent of the world population is still hungry. The impacts of climate change and conflicts take an even higher toll - resulting in an estimated 135 million people suffering from acute hunger. The COVID-19 pandemic could almost double that number, adding 130 million more people at the risk of suffering acute hunger by the end of 2020.
“Persistent and chronic hunger is the result of poverty, inequality, conflict, poor governance and marginalization of the most vulnerable,” - Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD. Poverty is deeply intertwined with successes or failures in agriculture and food security, with the majority of the rural poor depending on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. Yet, because they lack the resources or knowledge to invest, they cannot benefit from new technologies or access to markets that would boost their income and resilience. We need solutions that transition agriculture into something that can be a part of a new, sustainable future. Still “... we have enough wealth in the world to feed everybody” - WFP Chief David Beasley.
Natural Ecosystems and Climate Action
The world’s growing global population demands more food, fuel, fiber, and feed. This demand drives the expansion of industrial-scale agriculture, infrastructure and extractive industries, resulting in massive deforestation, conflicts over land, overfishing, and human rights violations. Investment in fossil fuels continues to be higher than investment in climate action at a scale of about USD $100 billion. Financing that promotes deforestation outpaces funding for forests by 40 to 1, according to the Climate and Land Use Alliance. With the appropriate financing and investing, and backed by the right policies and practices, the world could protect nature and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Since the 1880s, the average global temperature has risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius, driving substantial physical impact around the world with unknown severity and frequency. Global temperatures are projected to rise by up to 3.2°C by 2100, which is only 80 years away. With average temperatures on the rise, catastrophic hazards including heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels will only intensify. These risks pose the largest socioeconomic risk. Combatting these risks requires policy makers and business leaders to collaborate and catalyze investment. Already, global markets for climate-smart businesses and technologies have expanded at the pace of USD $1 trillion annually. IFC shows 21 emerging market economies promise USD $23 trillion in climate-smart investment opportunities through 2030.
Oceans are getting warmer, stormier and more acidic, impacting the health of sensitive marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs. Changes to the ocean’s temperature, chemistry, flow and food webs have broad implications for the global economy. The monetary value of the world’s oceans has been estimated at US$24 trillion by the World Wide Fund for Nature. This wealth is at risk because overfishing, pollution and climate change put an unprecedented strain upon marine ecosystems.
While some countries are set to maintain or improve catch and profits, others around the world who rely on healthy oceans and marine resources will see decreases in fishing, food and prosperity. Ocean reefs contribute to the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide, mostly in less-developed economies, generating US$36 billion per year for the global tourism industry. Coral reefs are home to some of the planet's most biodiverse ecosystems. They provide vital protection from coastal flooding and storm surges. Investing in scalable businesses that build resilience in coastal ecosystems and create jobs not only allow us to save our planet, but also to build more resilient economies.