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The ORRAA News – Q4 2022

16 December 2022

Dear ORRAA members and friends,   

So much went on during the two weeks of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, including the Ocean finally making its way from the preamble into the core text. That said, despite the inclusion of the Ocean, new finance commitments, and the breakthrough on loss and damage, there is still way too much to be done. A palpable feeling of ‘too little too late’ permeated the halls of the Blue Zone, which of course means that we have to redouble our collective effort. 

And the climate COP has been quickly followed by COP15: the biodiversity COP. Final outcomes are still up in the air as we go to press, but the recognition of the integral connectivity and critical importance of safeguarding and restoring nature to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises is not in doubt. The risks of not dealing with either effectively also is not in doubt. We hope that negotiators manage to look beyond the syntax to the big picture and the bold leadership needed to restore our planet: to 30×30 and beyond!   

Since COP26 in Glasgow last year, ORRAA has grown significantly, welcoming 28 new members over the past 12 months! Since our last update, we have welcomed:   

Full Members: Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa and Environmental Defense Fund  

Institutional Partners: UNDP

Project Delivery Partner: Synchronicity Earth  

Observers: Bright Tide, Only One, PlanBlue, and Sustainable Ocean Alliance

A very warm welcome aboard to all our new members!

During November, we also saw the first ever pay-out through the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) Insurance Programme triggered when the Turneffe Atoll off the coast of Belize, was hit by Hurricane Lisa. The category one hurricane event triggered a USD$175,000 pay-out under the programme’s innovative parametric policy and will finance immediate reef recovery and restoration following damage from the hurricane. This project, a collaboration between ORRAA members including the IDB, MarFund, WTW, and with support from both the Government of Canada and the UK’s Blue Planet Fund is a perfect example of multi-solver collaboration reducing exposure to ocean risk.

We are delighted that former President of Costa Rica, José María Figueres, has joined the ORRAA Inc. Board of Directors. He will add significant value to the organisation with his wealth of knowledge and experience. We also wish to bid farewell to Wolcott Henry, who served on the ORRAA Inc. board this year to help us through our transition. His leadership, knowledge and insights have helped ensure we are on a positive pathway and set up for success.

As we look to next year, we are building out ORRAA’s strategic vision for 2023 and beyond. We value feedback from our members and would invite you to fill out this brief survey (it’ll take ~five-ten minutes, we promise) to highlight what you see as the top priorities for the ocean, climate, blue finance and resilience.  

The ORRAA office will close over the holidays to give our growing team time to refresh and recharge. We look forward to catching up with everyone in the New Year and wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a peaceful and sustainable 2023!

Keep an eye out for the next ORRAA Action Report which will be published early next year.  It is a story of the incredible work you are all doing, how together we are reducing exposure to ocean risk and building resilience in vulnerable communities around the world.

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.  

Happy holidays!  

Karen & the ORRAA team  


Highlights of the last quarter



Financing African Ocean and Coastal Resilience

In addition to speaking at various events throughout the COP and meeting with many existing and new partners and friends, ORRAA convened a workshop at the Resilience Hub on Finance Day that saw 40 invited participants including Ministers from the Maldives and Gabon speak to the challenges of financing a sustainable blue economy in Africa’s oceans and coasts. The Lagos city Commissioner spoke to the resilience issues they are dealing with, South Africa’s WildOceans project focused on financing marine protected areas (MPAs) and IUCN’s Great Blue Wall project presented on the challenges they face as well as the opportunities for investment. Held under the Chatham House Rule, the event then saw inputs from the Insurance Development Forum, Deutsche Bank, UNDP, Standard Chartered and Stimson Center, among others. The event also marked the beginning of a workstream that ORRAA is undertaking with WildOceans through a Blue Action Fund grant, to identify sustainable financing paths for MPAs and the Sustainable Blue Economy in Southern Africa.


High Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidance – Wednesday 9 November 2022  

At COP27, on Wednesday 9 November, ORRAA with Salesforce, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Friends of Ocean Action, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International with the support of Meridian Institute launched the High-Quality Blue Carbon Market Principles and Guidance.    

The High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidance look to provide a consistent and accepted framework for blue carbon credits for credit purchasers, investors, suppliers and project developers. They will build confidence and momentum around blue carbon project development and investments.  The five principles (in no particular order) are:  

1.         Safeguard nature  

2.         Empower people  

3.         Employ the best information and carbon accounting principles  

4.         Operate contextually and locally  

5.         Mobilize high integrity capital  


US announces investments into ORRAA projects – Thursday 10 November 2022  

The United States announced the three ocean resilience projects it will be investing the USD$1 million commitment it made to ORRAA at the Our Ocean Conference in Palau earlier this year.   

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The United States recognises that, to achieve maximum results, our actions to protect and conserve nature and our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change must be closely aligned. Our life-giving ocean is the world’s last, and greatest, defence against climate change. The United States is proud to work together with ORRAA to protect our ocean.”    

The three projects are:    

  • A risk assessment for Toamasina, Madagascar through the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI). CORVI was developed and implemented by ORRAA members and partners the Stimson Center, Commonwealth Blue Charter, AXA XL and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. It produces comprehensive risk profiles for coastal cities and helps leaders make climate-smart investments to build resilience
  • ORRAA’s Coastal Risk Index (CRI) which uses ground-breaking modelling to calculate and map the protective benefits of mangroves and coral reefs. It creates flood risk maps to quantify how these two types of ecosystems reduce coastal flooding and its impacts on coastal communities, assets and infrastructure. The CRI maps, as well as the underlying data, can be used across multiple sectors to quantify the resilience benefits of Nature-based Solutions, for investors, policymakers and insurers
  • The third wave of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) in collaboration with the Swiss Re Foundation. ORIC is building a pipeline of investable projects driven from the ground-up that deliver genuine impact in local communities while having the potential to reduce ocean and climate risk   


Canada announces support for five innovative projects following a Call for Proposals – Wednesday 16 November 2022   

At an event at the Canadian Pavilion on nature-based solutions, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the first group of ocean resilience projects selected from the submissions to the Call for Proposals that ORRAA announced at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June. The five projects are:  

  • A project led by Rare Inc, to pilot weather index-based parametric insurance tools for small-scale fishers in the Philippines linked to open-ocean wind speed, wave height, and rainfall which prevent safe fishing
  • Work by Blue Finance to design and structure the activities of a USD$22 million blended finance facility, which is aimed at effective management of ‘bankable’ Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Global South. Key deliverables include the design and development of the facility for protected area projects in Belize, Cabo Verde, Dominican Republic, Fiji, Indonesia, Mozambique, Philippines, and Tanzania  
  • Scaling a project by MAR Fund, in partnership with WTW, to extend parametric hurricane insurance coverage to reef sites in Colombia, where a hurricane reef insurance product will be designed and piloted. The project will also include additional exploration for insurance linked to coral bleaching and rainfall-driven runoff in Belize and Costa Rica  
  • Research by Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden, ORRAA’s lead Science and Knowledge partner, working with the University of British Columbia and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, to increase the visibility of women’s contributions to coastal fisheries across the Global South and the associated food, livelihood, and wellbeing-related benefits  
  • A seed-grant investment to Comunidad y Biodiversidad for its PescaData app which connects fishers with investors, providing them with access to microcredits and loans. It also provides improved data collection, data-driven decision-making, communication tools, weather forecasts, local solutions for ocean sustainability and operates in Mexico, Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala  


UK increases investments into ORRAA support – Wednesday 16 November 2022  

On COP27’s Biodiversity Day during the Canadian-hosted event noted above, the UK Government confirmed it is investing a further GBP£12 million in ORRAA through a multi-year grant from its Blue Planet Fund.   

The Right Honourable Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said to the UK Parliament: “The UK Government is continuing to demonstrate international leadership on nature and climate by… pledging an additional GBP£12 million to the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) to mobilise investment in coastal and ocean natural capital…”


  Key highlights


Key coverage included

7 – 19 December 2022  

Canada is welcoming the world to Montréal for the long-delayed 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), which will focus on halting biodiversity loss and protecting nature around the world, as well as set 2030 protection targets.   

ORRAA was delighted to attend a workshop on “Marine Conservation Financing in the Nexus of Climate and Biodiversity Finance” hosted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to discuss the need to address large-scale financing mechanisms for climate and biodiversity.  

ORRAA is also proud to endorse the Declaration: “No Paris without Montreal: Righting the Ship for the Ocean and its Biodiversity”. The Declaration calls on CBD parties at COP15 to address biodiversity loss and climate change impacts on the ocean, ensure 30×30 outcomes for the ocean, increase financial flows to protect and restore ocean ecosystems, eliminate fishing subsides, and recognize the voices and knowledge of coastal communities. 86 organisations, NGOs, foundations, scientific institutes, IOs, UN entities, companies and financial institutions, under the coordination of the Ocean & Climate Platform, signed on to the Declaration on 8 December 2022.

Karen Sack’s blog: “At COP15 it’s time for us to do a double shift to protect and revive Ocean biodiversity”, was published on Finance and Biodiversity Day of COP15.

Ethical Corporation magazine’s interview with Karen Sack about Nature based Solutions in the blue space, including support for the COP15 goal to protect 30% of land and sea areas by 2030, which was published on 12 December.  It was also reproduced on Reuters online. 



During the last quarter we have made good progress on key projects including: 

  1. Building insurance tools to deter Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  Listen to a new podcast here  
  2. Climate-Smart Solutions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Coastal Cities using the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI)   
  3. Advancing the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC)   
  4. Establishing a Blended Finance Facility for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with Blue Finance  
  5. Financing Reef Resilience to Extreme Climate Events – a project lead by the MAR Fund 
  6. Gender Dynamics of Ocean Risk and Resilience in the Global South working with the Stockholm Resilience Centre       

Looking forward, the third round of ORRAA’s Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) is coming in January 2023! ORIC is a crucial component of ORRAA’s platform to build a pipeline of investable projects, delivering a genuine impact in local communities, while also mitigating ocean and climate risk.

And in case you missed it, the Munich Re Foundation together with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) launched the “2023 RISK Award – Call for applications”. The call will run until 20 December under the topic: “Climate resilience and early warning”, so if you are interested in submitting a proposal be sure to get it in fast. The winner can win up to EUR€100,000 funding. The winning project will be announced in May / June 2023.  



New appointments  

Anne-Marie Baker, ORRAA’s new Finance Director is an accomplished Certified Public Accountant and non-profit and corporate leader with experience in strategic financial management, process improvement, project management. Anne-Marie excelled in a variety of key financial roles at The Pew Charitable Trusts in the U.S. and at the United Way for the National Capital Area. She has led multiple organisational business and process improvement projects with both a U.S. domestic and global lens.

Our new Operations Lead, Ashleigh Cirilla, is an attorney with substantial experience in non-profit organizations, law firms and government working on campaign issues involving ocean conservation, environmental and law and operations. Ashleigh has worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts, for the U.S. Green Building Council on implementation of sustainable projects throughout the U.S. and with NOAA on marine environment and maritime issues.  

Look out for some upcoming job ads and new members of our team as we build forward!  

And a few goodbyes …

At the end of this year, we say goodbye to Federico Mazza and Maya Delaney. Fede has been an integral part of our team over the past year, helping us to build ORRAA’s capacities and particularly with our Call for Proposals. Maya has worked with us on developing the Sea Change Impact Finance Facility (SCIFF) while also completing an MBA. She is going to focus on her studies and then will be working on blue finance. We wish Maya and Fede all the very best.


Below are some of the key events for ORRAA for 2023. Please let us know if there are additional events your organisations are taking part in:  

  • IMPAC 5, Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress, 3 – 9 February 2023, Vancouver, Canada   
  • UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 28), 30 November – 12 December 2023, Dubai, United Arab Emirates  

Learn More