Marine Protected Areas News Ocean Finance

Belize’s ethereal Marine Protected Areas receive investment of US$ 1.2 million

Philip Hamilton | Ocean Image Bank

Mirova, IUCN, TASA, Blue Finance and ministry of Blue Economy of Belize announce their partnership in an innovative blended finance facility to improve the management of Belize’s marine protected areas & contribute to its blue economy. This partnership will generate a US$1.2 million facility that will allow the Marine Protected Area co-manager, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), to implement a number of sustainable revenue-generating initiatives and enhance the protection of the 132,000 hectares of spectacular coral reef ecosystems. The investment will have a positive impact on the local economy, including coastal fisher communities.

Blended Finance: a sustainable model

This blended impact investment, alongside catalytic grant funding, will allow TASA to implement smart business models aligned with conservation objectives and generate its own revenues, to effectively protect the marine reserve. The project will enhance TASA’s financial sustainability, improve the MPA visitor experience, generate blue carbon credits and contribute to the effective long-term management of the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

The investment will also be used to improve the management of fisheries, coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass habitats and is expected to have a direct impact on the local economy, benefitting small-scale fishers (re increased fishery productivity), promoting responsible tourism, and creating new jobs in the MPA.

The investment will contribute directly to the United-Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 1, 13, 14 and 17 (No poverty, Climate action, Life below water and Partnerships). Performance will be monitored using best practice impact standards.

Turneffe Atoll Aerial | Credit: TASA

Long-term conservation, economic and technical support

The Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve uses a collaborative management structure between the Ministry of Blue Economy of Belize and TASA, a non-government entity, through a public–private partnership agreement.

This agreement redistributes the financial burden and attracts long-term economic and technical support needed for effective management.

Similar experiences with terrestrial nature conservation in the world, shows that this kind of agreement can improve service and financial sustainability through professional management and marketing, reducing the need for public subsidies, and mobilise capital for investment in protected areas’ infrastructure and biodiversity.

Through the development of this finance solution, the partners will aid in attracting new investment into this critical but underfunded area of protecting natural capital and reducing poverty in Belize. By demonstrating proof-of-concept at scale, the solution builds confidence in natural capital investment within the region.

Bringing together the financial world and the conservation world requires innovative and collaborative thinking. You need to ensure high quality for project design and execution and at the same time maintain a sustainable conservation strategy (rooted in science). Working with experienced partners such as Mirova, IUCN and TASA allowed us to find this balance and to successfully complete the collaborative management and blended finance solution for Belize,” Nicolas Pascal, CEO, Blue finance.

Sea fans in San Pedro, Belize | Fabrice Dudenhofer | Ocean Image Bank



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