Which financial solutions can be applied to coral reefs? WCS, The Nature Conservancy, and others have released a whitepaper reviewing how conservation finance can be best leveraged for coral reefs.
Defined as “mechanisms and strategies that generate, manage, and deploy financial resources and align incentives to achieve nature conservation outcomes” (Meyers et al. 2020), conservation finance can be considered as a holistic approach to support coral reef conservation and associated community wellbeing.
The whitepaper, released 5th March 2022, looks at the four types of conservation finance solutions – namely discouraging harmful actions, incentivizing positive actions, optimising cost efficiencies, and increasing capital for conservation – and provides guidance on which to focus on for reef conservation.
Key recommendations for leveraging conservation finance for coral reefs include:
- Strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, and greater inclusion of the informal sector to strengthen local economies;
- Adequate planning for the long-term financing needs that build on the demonstrated successes of blended finance models, debt swaps, blue bonds, trust funds, and insurance products;
- High quality safeguards to minimize unintended social and environmental impacts from market interventions; Mainstream coral reef protection into investment decisions to avoid and reduce coastal ecosystem harm;
- Support regional development banks to mobilize resources for coral reef conservation and leverage support from multilateral and bilateral donors and impact investors;
- Address climate change with blue carbon projects at jurisdictional scales.