Innovative Financing Lab (IFL) under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Indonesia, recently participated in the AIS Blue Economy High-Level Dialogue: Blue Bond Session and AIS Startup Blue Business Summit, Blue Finance Accelerator that held from October 9th to 11th, 2023. The events were part of the pipeline activities of the 1st High Level Meeting of the Archipelagic and Island States (AIS) Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali Indonesia. Through the events, AIS Forum brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss, strategize, and collaborate on advancing Indonesia's blue economy through innovative financing models, such as Blue Bonds, and scaling-up startups and SMEs in the sector. The recent participation of IFL in the AIS Blue Economy High-Level Dialogue and AIS Startup Blue Business Summit is a testament to this commitment.
AIS Blue Economy High-Level Dialogue: Blue Bond Session
The journey began on October 9, 2023, during the AIS Blue Economy High-Level Dialogue, the Blue Bond Session. IFL took the helm in co-organizing a session dedicated to "Scaling Up Blue Bond Issuances in Archipelagic and Island States." The session was a beacon of hope for archipelagic and island nations seeking novel ways to finance projects to safeguard their coastal ecosystems.
This event wasn't just an assembly of like-minded individuals but a congregation of more than 100 representatives, including government officials, business leaders, experts, and academics. It was a platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experience that could help unlock the full potential of Blue Bonds as a catalyst for ocean sustainability.
The session featured esteemed figures and market practitioners, including Hon. Amenatave Yauvoli, ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to Indonesia; Chandra Wibowo, Deputy Director of Government Debt Securities from the Ministry of Finance; and Dr. Jan Robinson, Project Manager for SWIOFish3. Rima Prama Artha, Chief Economist from Danareksa Research Institute, and Andreas Thermann, Environmental Finance and Partnership Specialist from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), also graced the event. The session was expertly moderated by Muhammad Didi Hardiana, the Head of UNDP Indonesia's Innovative Financing Lab.
The session discussed the outcomes and ramifications of Blue Bond issuances, emphasizing key insights from market transactions and investor engagement processes. They unraveled the intricacies of Blue Bond issuances, sharing real-world case studies, benefits, and the invaluable lessons drawn from transactions. This discussion is particularly timely, given the recent surge in the supply of blue bonds from both public and private entities. Alongside this increase in supply, there has been a growing interest among investors in allocating their capital to support initiatives dedicated to the preservation of marine ecosystems. In fact, over the past two years, a total of more than USD 2.85 billion has been raised through issuances dedicated to funding a wide array of sectors such as waste management, energy production, maritime transport, and coastal ecotourism. The gathering explored the opportunities ahead, emphasizing the importance of strategic documents and guidelines for facilitating Blue Bond issuance nationally and internationally. The private sector's pivotal role in advancing the blue economy was brought into focus, highlighting the need for collaboration and collective action.
Providing Opportunities to Blue Startups: Blue Finance Accelerator
IFL's involvement continued with the AIS Startup Blue Business Summit Plenary Session and Business Expo, where IFL took a front seat in presenting the Blue Finance Accelerator (BFA) program. The event fostered enriching discussions towards financing for the blue economy, inviting representatives from policymakers and private enterprises. They shared valuable insights, emphasizing the impacts of the BFA, diverse financing perspectives in the blue business realm, and the significance of Impact Measurement & Management (IMM) towards the achievement of the 2030 SDGs Agenda. These insights formed the core of the summit's discussions.
The BFA program, which ran from January to July 2023, is a joint initiative between the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Investments, UNDP under ASSIST Joint Program with funding support from the UN Joint SDG Fund, and ADB. The program was designed to support Indonesia's journey towards a sustainable blue economy in line with the 2030 Agenda, through capacity-building in both the public and private sector. The program comprises two tracks: one dedicated to empowering local ventures (startups and SMEs) within the blue sector by enhancing their business and impact measurement capabilities, and the other aimed at boosting the awareness of Indonesian government officials about the blue economy to scale up blue projects.
"We need to strengthen our commitment to be part of a collaborative action to address our common challenges in the areas of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster management; economic challenges and opportunities which consist of blue economy, responsible and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, economic growth and creation of decent working opportunities; marine plastic debris; and good maritime governance,” said Adriani Kusumawardani, Acting Deputy Assistant for Maritime Security & Resilience from the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Investments, in opening the BFA plenary session during the AIS Startup Blue Business Summit.
During the session, the discussion invited representatives from BFA ventures, Julius Bernardus (Sambung Asa), Ryandika Terra (Karya Pesisir), and Anita Handayani (Lamops Craftwork) to share their learnings from BFA, highlighting the importance of integrating impact into business solutions. With guidance from UNDP on Impact Measurement and Management (IMM), the ventures learned how to scale their business forward while maintaining impact accountability to business stakeholders. To complement the discussion, Ms. Amalia Adhasara, Analyst from the Center for Climate Finance and Multilateral Policy (Fiscal Policy Agency/Ministry of Finance), unraveled insights from the policy-making side, underscoring the role of ventures in inviting financing opportunities for the blue economy.
This in-depth conversation also provided a crucial platform for the ventures to communicate their impacts to relevant blue stakeholders and nurture growth opportunities. Since the BFA program, the 12 ventures combined have provided solutions to over 60,000 individual beneficiaries and 500 institutional beneficiaries across 8 Indonesian provinces, and in line with SDGs 1: No Poverty, 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth, 12: Responsible Consumption & Production, 13: Climate Action and 14: Life Below Water. Targeting the empowerment of women entrepreneurship, 83% of the 12 BFA ventures selected were also women-led or founded.
In addition to the discussion, the 12 ventures seized a unique opportunity to showcase their innovative products and services for blue sectors during the AIS Business Expo. Their presentations garnered well-deserved attention from High-Level Ministries across the AIS countries. One of the ventures, Banoo, was invited to present their solutions in aquaculture to the Head of States during Leader’s Lunch after the AIS Forum’s 1st High Level Meeting was concluded.
IFL's active involvement in the AIS Blue Economy High-Level Dialogue and AIS Startup Blue Business Summit was more than just participation; it was a call to action, a bridge to foster collaboration and a catalyst for sustainable change. Through these events, IFL contributed significantly to advancing Indonesia's blue economy. It provided a vital platform for knowledge sharing, showcased innovative solutions, and facilitated the growth of startups operating within the blue economy sector. This unwavering commitment seamlessly aligns with the broader agenda of sustainable development, underscoring Indonesia's immense potential in harnessing its blue resources in harmony with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Written by Elizabeth and Kalila Wibowo
Edited by Muhammad Didi Hardiana
Orginially published by UNDP Indonesia.
The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.