Investing in Coral Reefs and the Blue Economy

Asia Pacific
Impact Areas
Blue Economy


Progress in funding
10,139,438 of 60,139,438 USD
Total requested (USD)
Allocated by Joint SDG Fund (USD)
Co-Funding (USD)
Total Funding (USD)
Leverage Target (USD)


Beqa Adventure Divers, the first tranasction in marine protected areas, was executed with a grant and a concessional loan. Two additional "blue" transactions received initial readiness grants, while a pipeline of over 30 potential transactions has been pre-identified with the support of Blue Finance and Matanataki.

The programme


Fiji's diverse coral formations cover approximately 6,704 km2, and they are Fiji's most exploited marine ecosystem. Fiji's island communities get about 75% of their dietary protein from the ocean, relying on small-scale commercial and subsistence fishing. Coral degradation, driven by overfishing, coastal development and climate change, threatens coral reefs, marine biodiversity and the communities that rely on corals. Urgent investment in active adaptation strategies is necessary to save the reefs, but to date, despite commercial viability, there are not sufficient public or private investments.


By investing in a variety of community centered, conservation focused initiatives, the programme improves the health of coral reefs and marine ecosystems while create sustainable business for coastal communities. By 2030, at least 30 effectively managed marine protected areas are established, improved food security and income for over 6,000 fishers, 30,000 MT GHG emissions avoided per year, 0.5 hectares of mangrove forest loss per year, 560 MT of fish stock increased per 1,000 hectares and US$1 billion tourism revenue loss avoided annually.


Technical assistance, performance based grants, and concessional loans are combined to support an investible pipeline of sustainable businesses. Over 30 transactions and businesses will receive technical assistance while 3 blended finances transactions will be funded in the first two years of implementation.

Financial instruments

Special Purpose Vehicle

  • A Special Purpose Vehicle will invest in a 10 marine protected areas, including in wildlife eco-tourism enterprises, high-tech visitor centers, nature fees, mangrove conservation and the promotion of sustainable tourism. Once the first 10 areas are able to generate returns on investment, the initiative will expand to include at least 30 marine protected areas.

The Western Sanitary Landfill

  • The Western Sanitary Landfill will benefit from a combination of equity, debt, and direct equipment purchases to build a sanitary landfill, transfer stations and a recycling center in Fiji's Western Division, which is home to about one third of the country's population. The project requires a total of US$26.8 million, with an expected debt equity ratio of 60:40.

The Fertile Factory Company

  • The Fertile Factory Company will benefit from a combination of equity and debt to finance a factory that processes a nonsynthetic fertilizer for sugar cane production. The fertilizer will reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. The company seeks US$ 2.5 million with an estimated 8% IRR.

UN Implementers

logo UNCDF


Global Fund for Coral Reefs
Blue Finance
BNP Paribas

Impact Areas

Energy and climate action

This impact area covers financing solutions that leverage public and private resources for cleaner and more efficient energy systems and climate adaptation and mitigation action.

Energy accounts for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas, being the main contributor to emissions production. Despite 70% of clean energy investments are privately financed worldwide, in accordance to a special report developed by energy investments on clean energy in developing economies needs to expand by more than seven times, to above US$ 1 trillion, to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Catalytic grants from the Joint SDG Fund are a critical bound to development finance institutions lending and attract private capital injections. Our portfolio brings financial solutions that span from lending and impact investing to insurance and smart subsidies. It aims to attract private investment to markets and sectors at early stages of readiness – or in situations where the risks are hard to mitigate, such as energy access projects for vulnerable communities or in remote areas.

Blue Economy

This impact area scopes financing solutions that leverage public and private resources for the blue 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. Oceans are getting warmer, stormier and more acidic, impacting the health of sensitive marine ecosystems and the lives of human communities that rely on them. Ocean reefs, the home of the planet’s most diverse ecosystem, contribute to the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide generating US$ 36 billion per year for the global tourism industry. Our programmes and pipeline in the blue economy space bring financing solutions that are adapted to the needs of island nations and coastal communities to preserve marine resources and coral reefs while offering income opportunities to coastal populations. They support scalable blue economy businesses, through equity and debt finance, risk guarantees, performance grants, incubation and technical assistance, to build resilience in coastal ecosystems and create jobs not only to allow us to save our planet, but also to build more resilient economies.

Food systems and agriculture

This impact area consists of financing solutions that leverage public and private resources for sustainable agricultural systems and enhanced food security.

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. Recent estimates from FAO show that nearly 10% of the world population is still undernourished. The impacts of climate change, conflicts and Covid-19 pandemic take an even higher toll - resulting in an estimated 118 million more people suffering from hunger and one in three people not having access to adequate food in 2020. On the other hand, the ecological footprint of the global food system continues to grow in terms of energy, resource use, and the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. To address these issues, the traditional approach to food policy must be reoriented towards food-system-wide approaches that provide incentives for investments in inclusive and sustainable development of food systems and for steering consumer behavior and food preferences toward healthier and more sustainable diets. Investments in food system innovations are key in driving change towards more a more sustainable and food secure future. Our programmes and pipeline in this area include solutions financial solutions that include microcredit and microinsurance, downscaling schemes from multilateral development banks, and a variety of blended finance facilities supporting agricultural supply chains, smallholder farmers, rural development, nutrition, and sustainable farming transitions. repurpose finance to support sustainable and resilient food systems, reduce finance that is destroying/degrading food systems, optimize finance to mobilize investment and increase access, and scale up public and private finance flowing to healthier diets. Examples include blended finance facilities, de-risking and collateral support mechanisms, sovereign and impacts bonds, business incubators, among others.

Social Impact

This impact area covers financing solutions that leverage public and private resources for social impact sectors including health, education, waste, water, and sanitation. These include Innovative financing concepts that improve the well-being of people and communities, especially vulnerable groups.

Leave no one behind (LNOB) is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. LNOB not only requires the elimination of social practices that leave particular groups of people further and further behind, but it also demands equal access to basic services, resources and opportunities for all. This will come at a cost. Achieving LNOB will require significantly more financing than is currently invested in human and sustainable development, and for these funds to be channeled towards improving the lives of those who are furthest away from reaching SDG targets. Focusing on the social sectors, the Overseas Development Institute estimates that global financing requirements for education, healthcare, and social protection transfers alone amount to US$ 137 billion annually in low-income countries. While these sectors require large investments to make the required transition, they often rely on public funds. These are rarely the sectors that private funds invest in, as their objective is to earn a return that is higher than the initial investment, no matter how minimal. Therefore, our programmes and solutions focusing on LNOB innovate the way we finance and address these barriers and close the financing gap, by offering viability gap financing, early stage capital investments, de-risking mechanisms, smart subsidies, and technical assistance to empower people and early stage enterprises driving impact in key social sectors.