UN expertise to support the protection of Fiji’s coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
Fiji is among the four countries selected to receive financing under the US$41 million portfolio to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) announced by the United Nations Joint SDG Fund today.
The programme proposal ‘Investing in Coral Reefs and the Blue Economy’ was selected out of 155 proposals from over 100 countries across the globe.
Through this joint programme, three UN agencies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy will create a blended finance facility and build capacity to mobilize private and public investment capital to invest in private sector initiatives with a focus on the conservation and protection of coastal reefs and marine life ecosystems.
“Fiji is home to five percent of the world’s total reef regeneration capacity. Over the years, we’ve watched that pillar of our blue economy degraded by overfishing and pollution. The worst could be still to come, as climate-driven ocean acidification threatens to wipe out the vast majority of our coral,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
“Building reef resilience protects a sustainable source of food and livelihoods for the Fijian people and a vibrant hub of biodiversity for the world. We hope this innovative financing initiative offers a scalable model that can support the conservation of marine ecosystems across our globally connected blue economy.”
Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of Pacific Sub-regional Office for UN Environment Programme says, “We are delighted to be part of this initiative because it really is a unique way to combine the expertise from three different UN agencies to support the protection of Fiji’s coral reefs and marine ecosystems and thereby contributing to one of the most under-invested SDGs, which is SDG 14; Life below water.”
“What we have noticed in recent years is that there is a substantial amount of impact capital available, but marine conservation projects have not managed to attract that capital at the same pace as the rest of the impact investment market,” says Bram Peters, Regional Lead for UN Capital Development Fund in the Pacific.
“With this initiative, we aim to develop a substantial pipeline of investment-ready marine conservation projects and by using the blended finance instruments from our colleagues from UNCDF we can de-risk these investments and in turn attracting more capital from other impact investors.” Like his colleagues, Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji is equally excited, “These investments will have many tangible benefits, such as enhanced food supply, fishing income for coastal communities, opportunities for nature tourism businesses, shoreline protection while empowering local communities across Fiji who relies on reefs for their survival.”