World Bank Commits US$4B to Blue Economy

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Karin Kemper, Senior Director for Environment and Natural Resources, World Bank

Says additional US$1.5 billion in pipeline

The World Bank has disclosed that its Blue Economy portfolio has reached US$4.1 billion, and an additional US$1.5 billion in the pipeline will be invested in member countries that are harnessing its potential.

The bank has set a goal to raise US$3 billion to boost Blue Economic activities, indicating that it has already actualized $660 million thus far.

The disclosure was contained in a speech delivered by World Bank Senior Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Karin Kemper, at the just ended Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) Conference—The Blue Economy and UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Nairobi, Kenya.

“As everyone here knows, oceans are threatened on many fronts and there is great urgency to protect this natural bounty. Oceans support our economies, livelihoods and the health of our planet,” Kemper lamented.

She enumerated serious projects that are being undertaken around the globe to help boost blue economy.

“In Kenya, we are currently preparing a US$100 million project that will, among other goals, enhance the governance and management of marine fisheries,” Kemper said.

The World Bank has also launched a new multi-donor Trust Fund called PROBLUE, which brings key players to address issues such as the management of fisheries and aquaculture, marine pollution, and to promote the sustainable development of ocean activities.

“So far more than US$100 million have been raised and we expect other donors to join. Third, we engage with the private sector to seek new ways to mobilize private capital,” she said.

Back in August, the bank announced its own new Blue Bond series, which specifically supports Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6 and 14 – Life below Water.

“We set the goal of raising US$3 billion and I’m thrilled to announce that so far, we have reached about US$660 million. Last month, the Seychelles government launched the world’s first sovereign blue bond. We worked to bring together the three impact investors and helped to structure the bond,” Kemper said.

In Indonesia, where two-thirds of coral reefs are considered threatened by over-fishing, the Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Project (COREMAP) has benefited 358 villages by establishing marine protected areas and reducing illegal and destructive fishing. This has increased communities’ income in project areas by 21 percent since 2008.

“We do this through our own investments in all sectors of the Blue Economy: second, we help create Blue economy-related platforms where multiple actors come together. The West Africa Coastal Management Program that we are presently building brings together 17 countries affected by coastal erosion and climate change,” she said.

The Nairobi event was the first ever global Blue Economy conference and brought thousands of participants together held from November 26 to 28, 2018.

Delegates used the occasion to leverage the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving water for future generations.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a special statement, called for the world to work together to secure success in managing the global aquatic resources for sustainable global development.

“I am convinced that for the sake of the present and future generations, and for the continued viability of our ecosystems, we have to envision a different future and, therefore, a different model for the blue economy. I pledge to envision that future and do my part to promote it,” President Kenyatta said.

At its simplest, “blue economy” refers to the range of economic uses of ocean and coastal resources — such as energy, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, mining, and tourism. It also includes economic benefits that may not be marketed, such as carbon storage, coastal protection, cultural values, and biodiversity.

The ocean generates $2.5 trillion economic benefits around the world each year. Fisheries, tourism, and shipping are some of the ways that quantify the monetary value of the ocean—but it also drives weather patterns and provides more than 1 billion people with their primary source of protein.

The conference also captured concrete commitments and practical actions that can be taken to help the world transition to the blue economy.

Other heads of state and governments at the conference included President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Abdullahi Mohamed (Somalia), Ali Mohammed Shein (Zanzibar) and Danny Faure of Seychelles, who committed themselves to the preservation of marine resources.

Meanwhile, the SBE conference builds on the momentum of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris and the UN Ocean Conference 2017 “Call to Action”. It was co-hosted by Kenya, Canada, and Japan

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