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ORRAA at UNOC, Nate Matthews, Chip Cunliffe & Karen Sack

The ORRAA News – Q2 2022


14 July 2022

Dear ORRAA members and friends,

Over the last quarter – and since the Our Ocean meeting in Palau – we have been working hard to further build the ORRAA team and critical organisational elements. We are so pleased to welcome Chip Cunliffe into our team as Programme and Risk Director. We also welcome Ulrike Decoene, AXA’s Group Chief Communication, Brand and Sustainability Officer, and a Member of AXA’s Management Committee as Chair of the ORRAA, Inc. board of directors. Both appointments came as AXA announced it is further committing to its membership of ORRAA.

Our Alliance is now more than fifty members strong as we welcome the newest members of the ORRAA family: Aurum, Blue finance, IHE Delft and The Pew Charitable Trusts. We’re looking forward to working with them on building the science on climate and ocean risks as well as driving financing into nature-based solutions for resilience.

We’ve also seen the first tranche of projects supported through the UK’s Blue Planet Fund move towards conclusion and are learning from as well as building off these results. In Lisbon at the UN Ocean Conference, we issued a new multi-year, multi-million-dollar Call for Proposals supported by the Government of Canada. We were also thrilled to host the inaugural ORRAA Member Meeting which brought together members and partners from around the world. It was truly inspiring to see people and ideas connecting, challenges and opportunities being flagged and addressed, and the spirit of our collective effort through ORRAA continue to build.

Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean said of the Conference: “This week is all about finance”.

This is particularly pertinent to us at ORRAA, as well as with our members and partners, and highlights the importance of our cross-sector partnerships.

It is absolutely clear that with the scale of the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies, we must move further and faster and together energise ocean investment.

This edition of ORRAA News covers some of the highlights from the last quarter as we work towards our mission to drive more investment into coastal resilience and the Ocean.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to set up a call to catch up with the team, please do let us know. 

Karen & the ORRAA team.


Highlights of the last quarter

1. Outreach and Engagement

Member Meeting in Lisbon, 27 June 2022 

Our first ever ORRAA Member Meeting, with nearly 90 people in attendance, and 40 more joining remotely, took place on the first day of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Meeting showcased the work done by ORRAA and our partners to drive investment into resilience solutions and highlighted the projects and tools being implemented around the world.

The Meeting was addressed by Secretary John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, the UK’s Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,.  Nigel Topping, the UK’s High Level Climate Champion spoke to key priorities as we move from Lisbon to the Climate COP in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, later this year, and Ambassador Ilana Seid, Palau’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke to the key imperatives for large Ocean States as we navigate from Palau’s Our Ocean meeting in April through the rest of the year.

It was wonderful to see so many of ORRAA’s members and friends together and to hear from one another during the various panels and workshops. The five Solution Lab workshops aimed to build momentum towards solutions and strengthening partnerships. This paved the way for ORRAA’s engagement in UNOC through side events, discussions and workshops throughout the rest of the week


Driving Positive Ocean Action at the UN Ocean Conference

The ORRAA team joined partners around the world in Lisbon to build momentum for ocean investment. As a key highlight of the week, ORRAA worked with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Government of Fiji, The Waitt Institute, UNEP, Oceano Azul Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and others to convene ocean leaders to demonstrate progress and ambition towards achieving healthy ocean and blue economies underpinned by good management, quality marine protection and sustainable financing.

Closing the event, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Satyendra Prasad, called for achieving the ‘30×30’ ocean protection target before 2030. Noting that SDG 14: Life Below Water was the least invested in SDG receiving just 0.01% of Overseas Development Assistance, he also called on the global community to ‘move the decimal point’ and drive at least USD$30 billion of finance into the sustainable blue economy and ocean protection action by 2030.

ORRAA also participated in a side event convened by the Blue Action Fund, Ocean Conservancy and others focused on the finance and partnerships needed to support marine protected areas and coastal communities as well as eliminate plastic pollution and advance the circular economy. Our team also had the opportunity to meet with project leaders from WildOceans South Africa, where through a Blue Action Fund project, we will be working on helping to convene key stakeholders develop sustainable financing.

On behalf of the Alliance, Karen Sack also highlighted ORRAA and the importance of driving finance into nature-based solutions for SIDS and LDCs during the Interactive Dialogue on the Blue Economy, Small Islands and Least Developed States.


Blue Carbon Principles and Guidelines Consultation

The World Economic Forum through its Friends of Ocean Action Mangroves Working joined forces with ORRAA, Salesforce, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, with the support of Meridian Institute, and launched in Lisbon the draft Blue Carbon Principles and Guidelines. Through a side event with a number of other partners, and a three-hour working session on the margins of the Conference, participants were asked to contribute to the development and elaboration of the Principles, which are now open for input with the goal of releasing the final Principles at the UNFCCC’s COP 27 in Egypt later this year.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) 7 – 9 June
Karen chaired a session during Capitol Hill Ocean Week coinciding with World Ocean Day entitled ‘The Underwater Industrial Revolution’. The session featured participants from Indigenous People’s groups, the White House, U.S. State Department as well as European Commission, and highlighted pathways for developing a sustainable ocean economy that protects ecosystems and values ocean resources.


2. Financial Innovation

Global search for next generation of coastal and Ocean resilience projects

ORRAA and Canada announced that the global search is now underway for the next generation of innovative finance and insurance projects which will build resilience in coastal communities and the Ocean.

This will help us work towards completing our mission to drive at least USD$500 million of investment into coastal and ocean natural capital and surface at least 50 novel finance products by 2030, positively impacting the resilience of at least 250 million climate vulnerable people in coastal areas around the world.

The announcement follows the pledge made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at COP26 in Glasgow when he said the Government of Canada was continuing its support for ORRAA – including a CAD$9 million financial commitment.

This new multi-year, multi-million dollar Call for Proposals has a particular focus on projects in the Global South. The first group of projects will be announced in Egypt at COP 27.

Successful applicants will receive between USD$5,000 – USD$400k over the next three years for projects designed to deliver maximum positive impact on building coastal resilience and mitigating ocean risk through finance and insurance products.

The announcement follows the pledge made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at COP 26 in Glasgow when he said the Government of Canada was continuing its support for ORRAA – including a CAD$9 million financial commitment.

In making the announcement, Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada said: “With the longest coastline in the world, our Government understands that protecting and sustaining coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them is key to building resilience and reducing risks from the biodiversity and climate crises. In addition to the investments we are making in Canada’s coastal areas, we are proud to support this new global search to identify, invest into and scale projects which build resilience for some of the world’s most climate vulnerable coastal people, and mitigate ocean risk.”

Please share this information with any organisations that have projects which fit the criteria. We look forward to hearing from them.


Sea Change Impact Finance Facility (SCIFF)

There is growing momentum behind the design of a new global ocean finance ecosystem with new partners stepping up to work on its development.

SCIFF aims to drive at least USD$1bn of investment into coastal and ocean ecosystems by 2030, a springboard from which to mobilise at least USD$2.5bn of broader finance capital into this space.

The development of the SCIFF was announced at the One Ocean Summit hosted by France in February. It is now attracting additional high-profile support from finance and insurance institutions and international organisations.

Our lead global banking and insurance partners Deutsche Bank and AXA, as well as BNP Paribas, are supporting the development of the SCIFF, as are the Commonwealth Secretariat through its Blue Charter initiative, the IUCN, and the Insurance Development Forum represented by its members Milliman, AXA XL and WTW.  Additional partners such as Blue Finance, Sea Green and Investable Oceans have also come on board. The Asian Development Bank will collaborate with the SCIFF to scale blue investments in Asia and the Pacific.

The SCIFF is composed of three core integrated components:

  1. A Blue Resilience Clearing House (“BRCH”) – a framework “marketplace” drawing on existing and emerging platforms to identify and select sustainable projects and effective project developers. It will link them to risk management expertise and potential investment pathways. The BRCH will put specific guardrails in place to ensure that the supply and demand for such projects meets specific selection criteria and standards.
  2. The Finance Umbrella will sit at the core of the SCIFF. Working with ORRAA’s finance sector partners, it will support a range of new investment formats including funds, facilities and mechanisms to attract significant funding from experienced investors. It will focus on investment opportunities, such as catalytic finance into blue infrastructure projects, co-investment alongside existing impact funds into sustainable blue economy opportunities, and capital market transactions including blue bonds and resilience finance.
  3. The Risk Transfer Platform (“RTP”) will focus on providing risk assessment standards, as well as existing and innovative risk transfer solutions, for coastal and ocean projects identified and/or developed by the BRCH or under the Finance Umbrella. Its aim will be to better enable investment by facilitating the transfer of risks which the project or investor is not willing to cover, to those better positioned to bear them in the private insurance sector.

Members interested to plug into the SCIFF’s open architecture. Please contact the team for more information.


Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge

World Ocean Day saw the announcement of the nine finalists selected to go through to the selection phase of the second wave of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC).

ORIC acts as an incubator by providing mentoring, leadership training and, for some, funding to help promising projects scale up. The finalists for the second wave of ORIC are community-led projects covering a range of innovative tools and solutions, such as building financial resilience for small-scale fishers in South Africa, Indonesia and Madagascar, scaling seaweed farming in Tanzania, microfinancing for plastic collection in India and Sierra Leone, coastal flood mapping in the Sundarbans, and leveraging the surfing economy for conservation. One of the finalists, Inversa, received international visibility after being covered in The Guardian as part of ORIC. 

At COP 26 in Glasgow, the Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister for the Pacific and the Environment, announced the Swiss Re Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund would contribute more than USD$500,000 to the Challenge through 2022 and 2023.

As part of the programme, projects benefit from the support and tailored guidance of mentors and a three-day Leadership Academy to refine their business plans and hone their skills. ORIC also connects projects with potential investors to help bridge the gap between locally led innovation and investment to accelerate their growth and wider positive impact. If you or someone in your organisation is interested in becoming a mentor, please let us know.

The winners of the Challenge will be announced soon.


3. Policy and Governance


On the eve of the G7 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ meeting on 18 to 20 May 2022, in Petersburg, Germany, ORRAA and the Europe Jacques Delors Institute published a joint report calling on the G7 to act decisively and swiftly to secure the financing needed to prevent ocean degradation and build the ocean and coastal resilience needed to protect people and the planet.”

The publication of the ORRAA / Europe Jacques Delors Institute joint report followed hard on the heels of the German Federal Foreign Office Foreign Ministers’ Communique, section IIa(3) of 14 May 2022, which stated:

“We commit to aligning all financial flows with biodiversity objectives, including identifying, redirecting or eliminating subsidies harmful to biodiversity and call on all countries and financial institutions, in particular Multilateral Development Banks, to do the same. We are committed to mobilising resources, from all sources, to substantially increase our funding in support of biodiversity finance by 2025, including increased funding for Nature-based Solutions with strong environmental and social safeguards, and ensure our economic and financial decision-making is aligned with sustainability objectives.”

In the final G7 Leaders Communique released during the UN Ocean Conference, the G7 Heads of State concluded:

“To our deep concern, biological diversity is being lost at unprecedented and alarming rates, jeopardising sustainable economic development and human health and well-being. Reaffirming the G7 2030 Nature Compact, we remain committed and will, leading by example, intensify ambitious action to achieve the global mission to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. We also commit to conserve or protect at least 30 per cent of land and 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030, nationally and globally, according to national circumstances and approaches. We stress the urgency of adopting a transformative Global Biodiversity Framework in 2022 and its timely implementation …We commit to mainstreaming, enhancing, and scaling up the implementation of Nature-based-Solutions (NbS) … A clean, healthy, and productive ocean, with resilient marine ecosystems, is essential for all life on earth. We commit to leading the global effort on the protection, conservation, restoration, and sustainable and equitable use of the global ocean …”

UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue 2022

The COP 26 decision to hold annual dialogues on the ocean and climate change to consider how to strengthen ocean-based action on climate change, took place on June 15th in Bonn.

Panel 2 of the dialogues focused on ‘Enabling ocean climate solutions and optimising institutional connections.’ Markus Mueller, Deutsche Bank’s Chief Investment Officer for ESG focused on the critical importance of shifting from traditional accounting to recognise and account for nature. He also spoke to the importance of ORRAA’s work in bringing key partners together. His words were echoed by interventions from Canada and the United States.


4. In other news


A New Look

In the last quarter, we have evolved our brand and website.  It is not only a hub for the work that we are undertaking but also provides an opportunity to showcase the work of members and partners.  If you would like your initiatives to be incorporated onto the platform, please contact the team at



 Dates of note in the months ahead include:                                                                         

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