Ocean Action Hub

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Taking the fight to the frontline: Island states unite to end pollution

19 Jun 2019 - 27 SIDS have come together in a bid to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and waste in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

19 Jun 2019 - Twenty-seven Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have come together in a bid to manage and eliminate toxic chemicals and waste in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems under a new initiative announced on 13 June in Washington DC.

Backed by $61 million in funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with partner co-financing of over $389 million, the Implementing Sustainable Low and Non-Chemical Development in Small Island Developing States program – or "ISLANDS" – will support island states across the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean to manage the growing impacts of chemicals and wastes on their unique environments.

Addressing the 56th GEF Council meeting in Washington DC, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii highlighted the ISLANDS program as “one of the exciting programs to address emerging issues which require immediate action through the creation of effective platforms.”

Ms. Ishii said that while environmental challenges were growing, the world's ability to address them was also becoming stronger, presenting “an historic opportunity to come together to make a difference".

While their small size, relative isolation and unique biodiversity place many SIDS amongst the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations – with the sector representing more than 30 per cent of SIDS' total exports – they are also especially vulnerable to environmental threats.

In the Caribbean for example, the approximately 75 million nights the island is visited by tourists per year are estimated to generate as much as 166 million tons of waste annually. Meanwhile, economic development and growing populations are squeezing many islands’ natural resources, straining waste management infrastructure and putting pressure on the fragile ecosystems – like beaches, reefs, and other coastal resources – that the islands rely on to survive.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.thegef.org/news/taking-fight-frontline-island-states-unite-end-pollution

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“Never forget you change people’s lives”

12 Feb 2019 - How conservation efforts such as this GEF project provide income-generating opportunities to local communities in the Caribbean.

12 Feb 2019 - How conservation efforts such as this GEF project provide income-generating opportunities to local communities in the Caribbean.

It was a good thing that it was pitch black as I sat chatting with Dianny on the beach late that night as we waited to hopefully see a leatherback sea turtle lay eggs. While talking about her work, she paused and pointedly said to me “never forget you change people’s lives.” She couldn’t see how this one sentence had caused tears to well up in my eyes emphasizing the impact of our work. When I read project statistics (like that a project will work with 300 farmers), it is easy to forget that they each have their own story and that the GEF is about much more than tons of carbon emissions reduced or hectares conserved.

For Dianny, a woman without a high school diploma, options were limited, which also meant her power was limited. One of the major impacts of GEF projects is that women can become financially independent from men for the first time in generations. Or ever. This means that they can leave abusive partners, they no longer have a precarious existence as single moms and/or they even start to gain more respect and leadership within their communities. Women also use their new-found resources for things that advance their families and communities, such as education. Dianny helps her siblings and parents as well as supports herself and her child with her business and has become a strong advocate for environmental protection in her community.

Dianny designs jewelry using lionfish fins, coconut shells, aluminum cans, sea glass, and other things she finds, selling her creations to the many tourists who visit her home on Caye Caulker. Dianny buys lionfish fins from her family and other fishers, which increases the value of each lionfish caught (important in encouraging more fishers to go after this invasive menace).

She and her group know that, through their jewelry making, they are helping to fight a species that threatens the well-being of the reef, upon which their communities entirely dependent for food and tourism revenue.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@theGEF/never-forget-you-change-peoples-lives-eb1af16dc3c4

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Seychelles Launches World’s First Sovereign Blue Bond

5 Nov 2018 - The Republic of Seychelles has launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond—a pioneering financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

5 Nov 2018 - The Republic of Seychelles has launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond—a pioneering financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

The bond, which raised US$15 million from international investors, demonstrates the potential for countries to harness capital markets for financing the sustainable use of marine resources. The World Bank assisted in developing the blue bond and reaching out to the three investors: Calvert Impact Capital, Nuveen, and Prudential.

“We are honored to be the first nation to pioneer such a novel financing instrument. The blue bond, which is part of an initiative that combines public and private investment to mobilize resources for empowering local communities and businesses, will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to sustainable fisheries and safeguarding our oceans while we sustainably develop our blue economy,” said Vincent Meriton, Vice-President of the Republic of Seychelles, who announced the bond at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali.

Proceeds from the bond will include support for the expansion of marine protected areas, improved governance of priority fisheries and the development of the Seychelles’ blue economy. Grants and loans will be provided through the Blue Grants Fund and Blue Investment Fund, managed respectively by the Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) and the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).

“The World Bank is excited to be involved in the launch of this sovereign blue bond and believes it can serve as a model for other small island developing states and coastal countries. It is a powerful signal that investors are increasingly interested in supporting the sustainable management and development of our oceans for generations to come,” said Laura Tuck, Vice President of Sustainable Development at the World Bank.

Seychelles is an archipelagic nation consisting of 115 granite and coral islands. It has a land area of 455 km2 spread across an Exclusive Economic Zone of approximately 1.4 million km2. As one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, Seychelles is balancing the need to both develop economically and protect its natural endowment.

Marine resources are critical to the country’s economic growth. After tourism, the fisheries sector is the country’s most important industry, contributing significantly to annual GDP and employing 17% of the population. Fish products make up around 95% of the total value of domestic exports.

“The Seychelles blue bond is a significant milestone in our long-standing support for ocean conservation, and the GEF is proud to invest in developing national blue economies that protect the rich marine ecosystem while supporting economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs,” said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The Seychelles blue bond is partially guaranteed by a US$5 million guarantee from the World Bank (IBRD) and further supported by a US$5 million concessional loan from the GEF which will partially cover interest payments for the bond. Proceeds from the bond will also contribute to the World Bank’s South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Program, which supports countries in the region to sustainably manage their fisheries and increase economic benefits from their fisheries sectors.

A World Bank team comprising experts from its Treasury, Legal, Environmental and Finance groups worked with investors, structured the blue bond and assisted the Government in setting up a platform for channeling its proceeds. The business case for a sovereign blue bond was initially identified through support to Seychelles from HRH Prince of Wales’ Charities International Sustainability Unit. Standard Chartered acted as placement agent for the bond and Latham & Watkins LLP advised the World Bank as external counsel. Clifford Chance LLP acted as transaction counsel.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.thegef.org/news/seychelles-launches-world-s-first-sovereign-...

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From Coast to Coast: Celebrating 20 Years of Transboundary Management of Our Shared Oceans

This publication highlights how the GEF has worked with partners to improve ocean governance by working across nations to promote ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries and other marine and coasta

l resources, protect coastal habitats from land based sources of pollution, and catalyze the formation of country driven, country owned and — ultimately — country financed regional institutional frameworks.