Investing in Coral Reefs and the Blue Economy
An investment strategy and accompanying enterprise incubation facility will support sustainable ocean businesses in Papua New Guinea.
The joint programme is expected to start in January 2022, after the completion of the design and pre-feasibility phase in 2021.
Papua New Guinea is one of the world's 17 “megadiverse” countries - its many marine ecosystems are of international significance. Its coral reefs are part of the Coral Triangle – the area with the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world. Despite this extraordinary natural heritage, most of PNG’s highly biodiverse marine and coastal ecosystems are not protected and are subject to multiple anthropogenic pressures. Local communities lack the skills, knowledge and financing to develop conservation-first business models connected to marine and coastal environments, which could provide both livelihoods and conservation outcomes. This is especially the case for women who remain marginalised in the business and labour markets. Technical assistance available to support entrepreneurship or social and community enterprise development is limited, and blue economy opportunities constitute an underexplored and untapped market.
Together with longer-term financing from the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, the programme will support at least 5 new blue economy initiatives demonstrating proof of concept, resulting in more than 250 local sustainable ocean-based jobs created. More than 1.33M hectares of marine space will be established and managed under protection by 2026. Through the incubated businesses, it will have a positive impact on coral reef ecosystems in the two priority sites and support the establishment of credit lines, incentivized through deploying risk guarantees to the domestic financial market.
The programme will support Papua New Guinea to integrate blue economy principles into its ocean management, through the development of a Blue Investment Strategy – the first of its kind in the country – and with the establishment of a Blue Economy Enterprise Incubation Facility (BE-EIF) to stimulate the growth of viable business models in the new blue economy space. The BE-EIF will provide dedicated technical assistance and a mix of financial instruments, particularly early-stage finance, to unearth, incubate and grow sustainable blue enterprise from cradle to exit with a particular focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and on women. It will be embedded within a dedicated financing window of the Biodiversity and Climate Fund, which provides grant-making and technical support to protected areas and vulnerable communities affected by climate change.
UNDP, UNCDF, UNEP
Conservation and Environment Protection Agency (CEPA), Provincial Government of West New Britain,