Ocean Action Hub

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The Caribbean can make waves with a blue ocean economy

10 Mar 2020 - IADB - Due to its unique geography, the Caribbean faces many challenges – and the climate crisis is only exacerbating them.

10 Mar 2020 - IADB - Due to its unique geography, the Caribbean faces many challenges – and the climate crisis is only exacerbating them.

Countries in the Caribbean tend to have a rough time when it comes to extreme weather like hurricanes.

Due to their geography, they’re usually more susceptible to disasters and extreme weather events, have limited access to freshwater and land for agriculture, and scarce development options and international trade opportunities.

The climate crisis risks exacerbating this precarious situation. Last August, Hurricane Dorian’s destructive path across The Bahamas left damages of around $3.4 billion.

The islands of the Caribbean know these challenges all too well and are stepping up with innovative solutions. Emerging interest around the Blue Economy is just one of these.

For example, The Sustainable Islands Platform (SIsP) is looking at the best ways to support island territories in their pursuit of sustainability and prosperity.

Developed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the platform exists under three founding pillars that are closely related: Climate Resilience, Circular Economy, and Blue Economy – the latter is a model which can significantly support economic growth in the region.

Although there are different interpretations of the term Blue Economy, it is rooted in the idea of the sustainable use of the oceans.

More specifically, and in the context of the SIsP, Blue Economy looks at the way oceans are a driver for welfare and prosperity. In short, growth is at the heart of the Blue Economy.

At the same time – considering that oceans also regulate our climate, provide us with food, social and cultural identity, and give us half the oxygen we breathe – there is a collective responsibility to support ocean health.

The islands of the Caribbean are particularly dependent on healthy oceans and with the countless natural services that the surrounding sea provides.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/03/06/caribbean-can-make-waves-blue-ocean-economy/

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Attachments for Ilha Circular Project

There are two different documents attached as resources:

ATTACHMENT A - ILHA CIRCULAR: here you will find our action plan for the implementation of the project, also our description of values.

ILHA CIRCULAR PROJECT - PROPOSAL: here we have a robust document with a detailed description of our project, each phase, component and output are described in this file.

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Blue economy business startups unveiled in Barbados

21 Jan 2020 - Turning sargassum seaweed into bioplastic and fish offal into fuel are among four industry startups to receive backing from UNDP.

21 Jan 2020 - Turning sargassum seaweed into bioplastic and fish offal into fuel are among four industry startups to receive backing from UNDP.

The ventures were unveiled at a UNDP blue economy accelerator lab’s Blue Tank session at UN House, where eight innovators pitched their concepts to a panel of judges who provided feedback.

In the end, four of them were selected for “blue lab funding”.

The quartet of startups selected receive funding of up to $30,000 (US$15,000), were Bio Plastic Creation, focusing on making biodegradable products from sargassum seaweed and cassava starch; Bajan Digital Creations Inc. which focused on coral reef mapping using underwater drones; Ten Habitat, which focused on developing a traceable fisheries brand; and NRG, which will develop biogas and fuel from fish offal. 

The blue lab is part of 60 UNDP global accelerator labs working to reimagine development in several areas for the 21st century, according to UNDP officials.

The lab for Barbados is focused on the blue economy and is aimed at supporting innovative solutions to some of the problems.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/01/16/blue-economy-biz-startups-unveiled/

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The Blue Tank – Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Blue Economy

16 Jan 2020 - The UNDP Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean Blue Economy Accelerator Lab (Blue Lab) has launched the first-ever “Blue Tank” ­– a dynamic forum where innovators will pitch ideas to help build a sustainable blue economy in the Caribbean.


16 Jan 2020 - The UNDP Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean Blue Economy Accelerator Lab (Blue Lab), with support from the German Development Cooperation and the Qatar Fund for Development has launched the first-ever “Blue Tank” ­– a dynamic forum where innovators will pitch ideas to help build a sustainable blue economy in the Caribbean region.

The primary objective of the Blue Lab, as part of the world’s largest and fastest learning network, is to promote out-of-the-box-thinking and experimentation to support Small Island Developing States in the sustainable development of its ocean based economic sectors while contributing to SDG 14. Consequently, the Blue Tank has been conceptualised from this to advance the identification of new and creative grassroots solutions to the multifaceted and rapidly changing challenges of the blue economy.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.bb.undp.org/content/barbados/en/home/presscenter/articles/2019/the-blue-tank.html

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Blue economy gets a boost

2 Oct 2019 - The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support governments in the creation of public policies to diversify their economies while ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development.

2 Oct 2019 - Responding to the challenges Caribbean islands are facing when it comes to the sustainable use of marine resources, including impacts on ocean-related sectors such as fisheries, research, tourism, and maritime transport infrastructure, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday September 21, 2019 to support governments in the creation of public policies to diversify their economies while ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Contained within the MOU, the Blue Economy proposal is a paradigm shift that coordinates sectors instead of creating silos, promotes more integrated approaches to marine management and delivers structural funding, innovation, capacity building, and other changes that improve the management of Small Islands Development States’ (SIDS) maritime space and related sectors.

It was signed by The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr Luis Felipe López Calva. This joint venture will provide Caribbean governments and other public entities with commissioned research and high-level technical assistance on critical development challenges that can have catalytic impacts in the region.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles said, “The Caribbean Sea, around which approximately 115 million people live, accounts for one per cent of the global ocean area and 14 per cent of the global ocean economy. Partnership on the Blue Economy is therefore significant for our region. The UWI continues to demonstrate that universities must play a unique role in advancing the 2030 global development agenda as drivers of knowledge, innovation and development solutions. As an activist university, we take this role seriously, with particular responsibility for climate action given the vulnerability of our region. The impact of our efforts, however, will only be as strong as our partnerships with international players, so we will continue to create and promote opportunities like these to advance this agenda.”

“UNDP is proud to join forces with The University of West Indies and reaffirm its commitment to support Caribbean countries to effectively leverage their ocean and coastal assets for economic and social development. This is not a pie in the sky, but rather, a very specific and concrete commitment to contribute in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the SDG Agenda,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Luis Felipe López Calva.

This collaboration builds on UNDP’s Accelerator Labs, a new way of working in development. The organisation established 60 Accelerator Labs across the world, the one in Barbados is the only one based in the Caribbean and focuses on promoting innovation and community engagement on blue economy-related sectors and to make progress along three lanes: higher productivity and growth; a greater inclusion in the labour market and in access to quality services; and stronger resilience.

CONTINUE READING: https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/09/30/blue-economy-gets-a-boost/

Image by doskey12 from Pixabay 

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The Caribbean addresses the scourge of plastic pollution

11 Jul 2019 - 75-80 % of marine litter in the Caribbean Sea comes from land, and most of it consists of plastics. States are taking action and momentum is building.

11 Jul 2019 - 75-80 % of marine litter in the Caribbean Sea comes from land, and most of it consists of plastics. Together with agrochemical run-off and domestic wastewater, it is one of three priority pollutants for the wider Caribbean region.

"Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. Microplastics in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy. From remote islands to the Artic, nowhere is untouched. If present trends continue, by 2050, our oceans will have more plastic than fish. The message is simple: reject single use plastic. Refuse what you can't reuse. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world,” said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

Governments are taking note. Throughout the region, many have banned, or are considering bans on single-use plastics, including plastic bags and Styrofoam. 

Antigua and Barbuda led the charge in 2016 with a five-phased approach to getting rid of plastics. Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, they decided to incorporate the ban into existing legislation rather than create new laws. They then ran the campaign “Make a difference one bag at a time”, and listed government-approved alternatives such as bagasse. As a result of these actions, the proportion of plastic dumped at landfills declined from 19.5 per cent in 2006 to 4.4 per cent in 2017.

The momentum continues. More than 18 territories have banned single-use plastics or Styrofoam products, while three countries have introduced bans at local levels, two have announced bans to begin in 2020 and 2021, 14 are discussing it within government and four have begun public consultations.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/caribbean-addresses-scourge-plastic-pollution

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Innovative financing and regional dialogue are central for a thriving ‘blue economy’

25 Nov 2018 - The blue economy concept holds great potential for coastal communities around the world, including the Caribbean.

25 Nov 2018 - The concept of ‘blue economy’ is gaining momentum. It is all about using ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving ocean and coastal ecosystem health. It includes economic activities, such as sustainable marine energy, sustainable fisheries, better management of ocean waste and ocean-related eco-tourism. The blue economy holds great potential for coastal communities around the world. Take for example, the Caribbean.

At the Board of Governors Meeting of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), 30-31 May 2018, the focus is on resilience, against the backdrop of one of the most devastating hurricane seasons the Caribbean region has experienced in recent history. As a contribution to the meeting, CDB and UNDP have partnered on a report to spark dialogue around the ways in which Caribbean countries can build resilience by adopting a ‘blue economy’ approach to development. The report identifies the financial challenges in the region, highlights innovative financing options that could be tested, and discusses policy and regulatory enablers to advance blue economy strategies at national and regional level.

What are the challenges? Financing investments in key blue economy areas such as sustainable infrastructure or research and development remains a significant challenge for Caribbean countries with a narrow economic and tax base, and in many cases high public debt. The debt-to-GDP ratio is over 60 percent in 12 out of 20 Caribbean countries according to Moody’s. Graduation of Caribbean countries to upper-middle and high-income status meanwhile has resulted in the decline of development aid by about 50 percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the World Bank, as well as restricted their eligibility for concessional finance. However, the region remains disproportionately vulnerable to environmental shocks and climate change. In 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria caused damages to Dominica estimated at more than 225 percent of GDP. This means affected countries need to find additional resources for relief and reconstruction.

What can be done? To finance blue economy investments, it is crucial that Caribbean countries have easier access to concessional finance and innovative debt instruments, such as countercyclical loans (allowing debt service to fall in the event of a major shock). There is also a need to explore innovative finance models, such as blended finance (combining public and private investment), impact investment (investing to generate impact alongside a financial return) and blue bonds (tapping into capital markets to fund ocean-related environmental projects). The report shows that these are underexplored areas for the Caribbean.

There are examples to learn from. Seychelles is one country championing the blue economy model. It has combined several innovative finance models to fund sustainable ocean-development and conservation. It issued its first ‘Blue Bond’ in 2017 to raise US$15 million to finance the transition to sustainable management of small-scale artisanal fisheries, including measures aimed at rebuilding fish stocks, harvest control measures, post-harvest and value adding activities, and scientific and sector support services. It also implemented a debt-for-nature swap combining $15.2 million of impact capital and $5 million in grants to buy back a portion of Seychelles’ debt at a discount, using the proceeds to fund marine conservation and climate change adaptation through a new trust fund named Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust.

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What is the Blue Economy? Part 1: Leveraging innovative finance for Caribbean blue economy growth
21 Nov 2018 - Small islands are seeing the tangible advantages of pivoting their national development strategies towards the sustainable use of the ocean.

Justin Ram, Caribbean Development Bank           VIEW ORIGINAL
Gail Hurley, UNDP

30 Oct 2018 - UNDP BlogOne of the more recent terms emerging from the kaleidoscope of colored economies (brownblackorange) is the ‘Blue Economy’. While it may seem like following on the latest buzz of the development community, there are very tangible advantages for small islands to pivot their national development strategy towards the sustainable use of the ocean. In this 2-part blog series, we first introduce the concept and its advantages, then we discuss innovative financing mechanisms that can be used to direct investment to the sector.

A 4-Point Policy Checklist for Diving Deeper into the Blue Economy

The earth’s oceans have been described as the last economic ‘frontier’. Globally, ocean-based activities generated over US$1.5 trillion in economic output in 2010 and were directly responsible for over 31 million jobs, primarily in fisheries, tourism, off-shore oil and gas exploration and port activities. By 2030, on current trajectories, the ocean’s value added is expected to rise to US$3 trillion, and associated employment to over 40 million. However, the state of the world’s oceans and seas threatens these benefits. Climate change, pollution and overfishing pose significant threats to the sustainability of the oceans and the economic rents they could provide. For small island states where the ocean’s role as a source of subsistence and income is magnified, business as usual cannot continue.

What can we do differently? How can Caribbean countries more effectively leverage their ocean and coastal assets for economic and social development, while protecting these assets? This is the topic of the research paper, “Financing the Blue Economy: A Caribbean Development Opportunity,” produced jointly by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Adopting a “blue economy” approach (in which the economic value of marine assets is maximised while the health of marine and coastal ecosystems is protected) could help usher in a new development paradigm for the Caribbean. The paper proposes four key sectors for highly targeted interventions over the coming years: fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, renewable marine energy, and marine transport.

What does this imply in practice? And crucially, what can Caribbean policy-makers and the international community do to create an environment where the blue economy can thrive? 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/leveraging-innovative-finance-for-caribbean-blue-economy-growth.html

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What is the Blue Economy? Part 2: Show me the money

15 Nov 2018 - The blue economy represents the long-term sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources. This UNDP blog looks at ways this can be financed in the Caribbean.

15 Nov 2018 - Efforts to exploit the Caribbean’s ocean resources are not new; coastal tourism and fisheries are well established industries. However, the blue economy concept represents a (relatively) new paradigm shift in that it is centred on the long-term sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources in both traditional and new ocean-based industries. Part 1 in this blog series offered four policy suggestions for Caribbean governments who wish to pursue this approach. Part 2 looks at ways this can be financed.

While governments may be inspired by the blue economy paradigm shift, their pockets may not be quite so deep. Innovative financing mechanisms – such as those discussed in the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) recent paper “Financing the Blue Economy: A Caribbean Development Opportunity” – will be critical if the sustainable benefits of the blue economy approach are to be realised. This is especially the case in key blue economy sectors, such as marine renewable energy, which can carry high investment costs for relatively small economies.

Marine renewable energy remains an under-explored area in the Caribbean, yet it is one in which investment can – and must – be accelerated. Many Caribbean countries have set themselves ambitious targets to diversify their energy mix. For example, Barbados aims to derive 65% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030; Montserrat is aiming for a 100% renewable energy grid by 2020. Yet investments in renewables are low and the Caribbean region remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Electricity tariffs are high, averaging 35¢/kWh (compared to just 12¢ in the US and 20¢ in the UK).

The region has large untapped sources of renewable energy with huge solar, wind, geothermal and marine energy potential. There are however multiple challenges associated with leveraging private sector investment: limited economies of scale and substantial environmental vulnerabilities diminish the attractiveness of these opportunities for investors. This is coupled with a limited awareness of opportunities, the lack of a high-quality investment pipeline and weak national capacities for project design and implementation. These factors all contribute to high financing costs. Many investments in these areas have, to-date, been financed by bilateral and multilateral development partners; however resources remain limited.

Part 1 of this blog series showed how governments could take policy measures to accelerate private investment in the blue economy through, for example, de-risking investments and improving the business environment. The joint CDB-UNDP paper also shows that innovations in finance can also play an important role to catalyse investment.

For example, contingently recoverable grants (where a grant is converted to a loan should the project go ahead) and new insurance products can help reduce the risks and upfront costs associated with the exploratory phase of capital intensive projects. CDB has explored a mix of loan, grant, and contingently recoverable grant financing on a number of sustainable energy initiatives in its borrowing member countries. This strategy has helped to strengthen governments’ positions when coming to the table with major private sector interests, and enabled them to negotiate fairer terms and resource allocations. Opportunities for blended finance in support of the blue economy also remains underexplored across the Caribbean.

Green and blue bonds should also be explored. Fiji recently became the first small island state to issue a green bond for investments in renewable energy and resilience to climate change. The Seychelles has piloted a blue bond for investments in sustainable fisheries development, with partial credit guarantees issued by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility to help lower interest costs.

High debt ratios in the Caribbean (in 2017, the average public-sector debt stood at 64.3% of GDP compared to 48.3% across emerging and developing countries) make debt-for-nature swaps an attractive avenue to pursue.

Extreme environmental vulnerabilities also create opportunities for new insurance schemes, such as the coral reef insurance being piloted in Mexico by The Nature Conservancy and UNDP. The restoration of key ecosystems which can effectively and rapidly sequester carbon could also help to position Caribbean countries within the international carbon sequestration market. UNDP and Grenada’s Blue Innovation Institute are currently exploring whether impact investment could be harnessed to support coral reef, mangrove and seagrass bed restoration.

Aside from investing in renewable energy and resilience-building ventures, there are opportunities for the Caribbean to transition established industries, e.g. fisheries, tourism and marine transport to more sustainable practices. The implementation of marine reserves or no-take areas as well as more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture practices have emerged across the Caribbean and can yield a triple dividend: ecosystem and biodiversity preservation, the protection of livelihoods while at the same time serve as a major tourist attraction. It is equally important that individuals and enterprises operating in these sectors are formalised so they can contribute tax revenues, and access finance and insurance.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/show-me-the-money.html

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Financing the Blue Economy: A Caribbean Development Opportunity

Within the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and CDB’s Strategic Plan, “Financing the Blue Economy: A Caribbean Development Opportunity” examines the potential of the blue economy

to drive sustained and inclusive economic growth. The Paper, a joint initiative between CDB and the United Nations Development Programme, also explores factors that can constrain our Region’s ability to take full advantage of the ocean’s potential. New and high-value blue economy growth industries such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, deep seabed mining, and ocean renewable energy remain under-developed in our Region.