Working towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water
8 June 2020 – With funding from the RS Group for its Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window, Convergence awards Blue Finance and Ocean Outcomes (O2) design-stage grants for blended finance solutions targeting Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
Blue Finance receives a proof of concept grant for the Blended Blue Finance Facility (BBFF) for the effective management of several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Southeast Asia. O2 is awarded a feasibility study grant for developing a pioneering Sustainable Seafood Fund that aims to change the way fishery improvement is funded in the Asia-Pacific.
“We are delighted to use our design funding program as a true market accelerator to support Blue Finance and O2, both presenting promising and scalable blended finance solutions to attract greater private and public sector investment towards projects focused on natural capital across the Asia-Pacific,” says Joan Larrea, Chief Executive Officer at Convergence.
Marine and coastal ecosystems face ongoing threats from a variety of sources including unsustainable fishing, poor agricultural practices, coastal development and tourism. New financing models are needed to inject additional capital to support development projects advancing sustainable management of marine areas and fishing practices.
Blended finance solutions focused on natural capital in Asia
Blue Finance is a social enterprise developing solutions for the management and financial sustainability of MPAs. Projects enhance marine natural capital, improve food security and incomes for vulnerable coastal communities and increase climate change resilience across Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. The BBFF structure brings together local communities, NGOs, government, donors, and investors in a collaboration that seeks to blend commercial finance and grant funding to finance the up-front capital needs of the MPAs.
“Conservation projects, particularly those focused on marine ecosystems, are not attracting enough commercial capital due to a shortage of investment-ready projects. This grant enables Blue Finance to increase investment in marine conservation and economic development in Southeast Asia,” shares Nicolas Pascal, Executive Director & Co-Founder of Blue Finance.
O2 works with commercial fisheries, seafood industry, local communities and NGOs to develop and implement creative solutions towards more sustainable fisheries and fish farming practices. O2 will receive design funding to explore the feasibility of a US$50M Sustainable Seafood Fund, leveraging private and public capital to better support improved practices in fisheries production.
“The lack of substantial, long-term financing for fisheries improvement is a significant barrier to meeting sustainable seafood production goals,” said Neel Inamdar, who is leading development of the Fund for O2. “Support from Convergence will allow us to scope a solution to this critical need by providing an opportunity for leading companies to mainstream sustainability into their business models while also addressing long term seafood supply risks.”
For Blue Finance, the grant will serve as critical early-stage capital to support facility design and structuring, fundraising and marketing, and getting several MPAs to investment readiness in Asia. O2’s grant will support fishery pipeline identification and screening, developing the investment structure, building an operating model, business plan and identifying potential investors.
About Convergence’s Design Funding Program
Convergence’s Design Funding Program operates as a market acceleration tool providing early-stage capital to support blended finance solutions in frontier markets and nascent sectors to accelerate the number of investible transactions in market targeting SDGs.
The Asia Natural Capital Design Funding Window supports blended finance solutions that find new ways to enhance and protect the world's stock of natural assets, including water, land, soil, air, plants and animals, by attracting private investment at scale. These solutions will directly support SDGs 13, 14 and 15, and could contribute to protecting biodiversity, reducing the degradation of ecosystems (e.g. deforestation), mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing unsustainable use of land and oceans, and providing a fair and sustainable living to local communities. This design funding program is the first of its kind in the region, anchored by RS Group at US$3M. The window is open to other co-funders and currently accepting applications.
Convergence is the global network for blended finance. On top of market acceleration through its Design Funding program, Convergence generates blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries. Convergence’s global membership includes over 200 public, private, and philanthropic investors as well as sponsors of transactions and funds. To learn more, visit www.convergence.finance.