The Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF) supports the development of sound, investable projects that support coastal habitats and have clear ecosystem service benefits. BNCFF aims, in particular, at demonstrating the feasibility of tapping into the wealth of coastal ecosystems – ‘blue natural capital’ – to create appropriate risk-return profiles for funding providers and to protect and enhance the underlying habitat at the same time.
A key ecosystem service provided by coastal wetlands concerns the removal and long-term storage of CO2, a reason why these ecosystems – namely mangroves, seagrasses and marshlands – are also referred to as “blue carbon” ecosystems. Blue carbon project development presents the opportunity to avoid, reduce or remove CO2 from the atmosphere by conserving and restoring coastal wetlands, while generating income for local communities from the sale of carbon credits.
As terrestrial forest carbon projects have been developed for decades, investable blue carbon projects remain rare. This is despite the fact that blue carbon interventions – such as conservation of threatened mangrove habitats, rewetting of tidal peatlands and restoration of seagrass beds – generate a multitude of additional benefits to climate change mitigation. The protection of freshwater resources, the provision of nursery grounds for fish, and shoreline protection against storms and flooding are important ecosystem services that healthy coastal wetlands provide.
In order to kickstart blue carbon project initiatives to generate tradeable carbon credits or use other results-based finance schemes, BNCFF offers seed funding to pay for feasibility assessments or early project development*. Funding per project may not exceed 70,000 EUR and can be used for various pre-feasibility and feasibility studies to determine the blue carbon potentials, prepare blue carbon project design documents, set up monitoring and verification procedures and tools, non-permanence and leakage risk assessment, among others.
*Project developers requiring support for later stage project development can apply for funding from BNCFF year round by handing in this submission form.
Through this call for proposals the BNCFF aims to support about four promising blue carbon projects over the coming year. Projects will be selected according to the following criteria:
- Blue carbon generation potential and the ability to monetize the blue carbon;
- Habitat conservation and/or restoration value across ecosystem services;
- Clear and inclusive land tenure and participation arrangements;
- Environmental, social and governance attributes (including gender aspects);
- Experience of the applicant;
- Role of the blue carbon income stream in the expected finance structure; and
- Opportunities for developing additional income streams (beyond carbon).
There are no thresholds in terms of area size for this call. However, projects must demonstrate that they will likely generate sufficient cashflows to attract financing and maintaining operations for a longer time period (~10 years) based on a sustainable business model. Deadline for submission is April 30th.