Investing in Coral Reefs and the Blue Economy
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, 30,000ha 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.
- Global Fund for Coral Reefs
- Government of Fiji, Ministry of Economy - Climate Change and International Cooperation Division
- Blue Finance
- Sustainable Ocean Fund