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Bird’s eye view of fishing market on beach, China
Bird’s eye view of a small fishing market on beach, South China

Global call for community-led financial innovations that build coastal resilience

London, 15 November 2021 – A major global competition is launching today to find innovative financial and insurance products designed to build resilience in coastal communities vulnerable to climate change.

Led by the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and launched in partnership with the Swiss Re Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund (BPF), the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge is calling for locally-led solutions designed to drive investment in marine and coastal nature, and reduce ocean risk for the people who depend on it.

The Challenge, now in its second wave, will award tailored mentoring to a small number of successful projects selected for their level of innovation, scale of impact and equity. Winning projects that graduate from the Challenge and meet pre-agreed criteria will also be granted next-stage funding.

Last week at COP26, UK International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith announced that the Swiss Re Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund (BPF) would contribute over US$500,000 to the running of Challenge over the next two years.

The funding will enable mentors from ORRAA and its partner organisations to work with winners to refine their business propositions, prepare for pitching, build a broader ecosystem of partners and potential investors, and build the necessary skills to lead their solutions as they grow.

The Challenge is key to ORRAA’s goals to to drive $500 million of investment into ocean nature-based solutions, surface at least 50 novel finance products and build the resilience of 250 million climate vulnerable coastal people by 2030.

Karen Sack, Executive Director and Co-Chair of ORRAA said: “The Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge helps us build a pipeline of investable projects that deliver a genuine impact in local communities while having the potential to mitigate ocean and climate risk more broadly. Drawing on the multi-sector expertise of our members and partners, the Challenge enables ORRAA to surface, grow and scale promising solutions, and act as a catalyst to accelerate both locally-led innovation and investment to protect the Ocean and the communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.”

The Challenge calls for proposals from individual organisations or consortia across public, private, local civil society, international NGOs and academia from the Global South and North. Experienced implementers as well as start-ups are encouraged to apply.

Winners from the first Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge, launched last year, include an initiative to empower seaweed farmers in Indonesia through innovation and financial inclusion (MARI Indonesia), the creation of a voluntary community carbon market in Tanzania to create sustainable sources of income for local communities (Aqua-Farms Organization), and a plastics credit platform in India (rePurpose Global) to reduce waste, support livelihoods and restore nature.

The Challenge opens days after ORRAA announced new members, commitments and partnerships at COP26, and as the Alliance calls on the global community to consider the Ocean in finance and insurance decisions through its UN-backed #Back Blue Ocean Finance Commitment.

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