A major financial investment has been injected into locally-led projects focused on building resilience in coastal communities adapting to climate change. The Swiss Re Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund (BPF) are both funding the initiative which is being led by the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA).
The funds will be used to invest into the second wave of the Alliance’s Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge which backs community-led financial solutions designed to reduce ocean risk for the most vulnerable – with a focus on gender, equity and human rights – while protecting biodiversity.
The Swiss Re Foundation and the UK’s financial contributions will amount to over half a million dollars to support the Challenge over the coming two years and enable ORRAA and its partners to provide mentoring to the winning projects to maximise their potential for impact, scalability and investability.
The announcement was made at COP26 in Glasgow by UK International Environment Minister, Lord Goldsmith.
The Challenge contributes to ORRAA’s goals to to drive $500 million of investment into ocean nature-based solutions, surface at least 50 novel finance products and build the resilience of 250 million climate vulnerable coastal people by 2030.
Karen Sack, Executive Director and Co-Chair of ORRAA said: “The UK and Swiss Re Foundation’s backing of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge comes amidst a growing urgency for private and public finance leaders to increase ocean finance commitments and build resilience in some of the Earth’s most valuable ecosystems and most exposed communities. This is about how we nurture and scale locally-led solutions to some of the most serious challenges we face.”
UK International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Our shared ocean is critical to the economic, social and environmental well-being of people and the planet. We must find collaborative solutions to improve ocean resilience and I look forward to seeing this momentum continue.”
Stefan Huber Fux, Director of the Swiss Re Foundation, added: “The Challenge will help generate a pipeline of financial solutions to reduce ocean risk with solid foundations, informed by scale and striving for economic viability. We are particularly interested in the identification of insurance solutions where we can bring in expertise and support to scale. We think this is an interesting way to bring in private sector support to the net-zero agenda. “
Both Swiss Re and the UK Government are full members of ORRAA.
The first cohort of winners, selected earlier this year, include an initiative to empower seaweed farmers in Indonesia through innovation and financial inclusion (MARI Indonesia), the creation of a voluntary community carbon market in Tanzania to create sustainable sources of income for local communities (Aqua-Farms Organization), and a plastics credit platform in India (rePurpose Global) to reduce waste, support livelihoods and restore nature. The UK’s Blue Planet Fund will also be providing small accelerator grants to this first cohort to help their solutions develop forward even faster.
The Challenge will call for proposals from individual organisations or consortia across public, private, local civil society, international NGOs and academia. Both experienced implementers as well as start-ups, hubs and accelerators from the Global South and North will be encouraged to apply.