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Aerial of Ubay Island in Tubigon, Bohol. A fishing village and m
Aerial of Ubay Island in Tubigon, Bohol. A fishing village and mangrove area.

The ORRAA News – Q2 2023

29 JUNE 2023

Dear ORRAA members and friends,

With less than six months to COP28, the stark reality of climate change is making the need for action even more urgent.

Ocean surface temperatures are at record levels and predictions point to the likelihood we will reach 1.5 degrees of warming by 2027.

The recently recorded ‘beyond extreme’ Category 4 oceanic heatwave in the North Atlantic where temperatures were measured at 4 degrees Celsius above average, is a chilling case in point.

With all this data pointing to the critical importance of the Ocean as an Earth system, the theme of this year’s World Ocean Day, “Planet Ocean”, sums it all up.

ORRAA members showcased the need for greater investment and partnership on ocean solutions, including major announcements from Global Fishing Watch, and we were also excited to announce that Standard Chartered has joined ORRAA to work with us on turning the tide on ocean finance. Citi Global also released a comprehensive report focused on Charting a Prosperous Blue Future from Risk to Resilience, featuring ORRAA’s work and that of several of our partners.

The UNFCCC’s Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue then followed hot-on-the-heels of what has become World Ocean Week, focused on driving ocean action for climate. Then, of course, it was wonderful to see the adoption of the new High Seas Treaty text at the UN in New York.

And this past week, France’s President Macron and Barbados’ Prime Minister Mottley convened the Paris Climate Finance Summit to grow momentum towards transformational climate finance reforms.

An OECD report released to coincide with World Ocean Day notes that in 2021, just 0.84 per cent of ODA was invested into the sustainable ocean economy – an astonishingly low figure particularly given the frightening data emerging from NOAA showing a second record month high in ocean surface temperatures this past May.

In April, it was a huge privilege for Chip and I to travel to Tanzania and South Africa to visit with two of ORRAA’s project partners, AFO and ABALOBI.

We also co-hosted with WILDTRUST a cross-sector workshop on financing 30×30 and Marine Protected Areas in South Africa.

There are just a few days left to submit a project to our Call for Proposals supported by the UK’s Blue Planet Fund. The call aims to surface pioneering projects that are developing innovative and scalable finance and insurance products in the Global South. The Call closes at midnight on Sunday 2 July!

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

Quarterly Highlights

Member Updates The strength and power of our Alliance is our members

Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO) – Tanzania

During the second wave of ORIC, ORRAA began supporting another project led by AFO and Sea PoWer, a women-led initiative to scale deep-water tubular net seaweed farming technology through microcredit and saving schemes.

The initiative will also train women on financial literacy and how to produce seaweed value added products soap, shampoo and lotions and food from seaweed.

ORRAA has now expanded our support to AFO through a grant from the government of Canada to scale its work.

In late April, Karen and Chip visited the team at Aqua-Farms Organization (AFO), a youth-led NGO in Tanzania, to learn about the work they are doing and experience first-hand the positive impact that AFO is making on the coastal communities in Tanzania.

AFO was founded in 2017 and ORRAA began working with them through the 2021 Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) on a voluntary carbon market project aiming to establish new sustainable sources of income from the rehabilitation of mangrove forests.

ABALOBI – South Africa

On the heels of our trip to Tanzania, the ORRAA team visited our partner ABALOBI in South Africa.

Through its technology, ABALOBI connects small-scale fishers directly with consumers, ensuring a fair, transparent income for the fisher, and fully traceable “Fish With A Story” for the consumer.

Their innovative app allows fishers to save towards pre-defined targets, such as repairing or replacing fishing equipment, and provides a full suite of tools that combine e-commerce with marketing, data services, training and community development.

This creates an enabling environment for a transition to fully reported fisheries, fisheries rebuilding and conservation.

ABALOBI was initially supported through ORIC and is now supported through a building grant through ORRAA from the Government of Canada.

WILDTRUST x ORRAA workshop on Sustainably Financing Marine Protected Areas in South Africa

Co-hosted with WILDTRUST, a South African non-profit and member of ORRAA, we held a workshop on Sustainably Financing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in South Africa to deliver the 30×30 Ocean Agenda.

Diverse partners including Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, AXA Climate, WWF, IUCN, and Blue Finance gathered with representatives from the South African Government and local NGOs to discuss and identify sustainable finance options for the uThukela and Isimangaliso MPAs as well as for 30×30 across the country’s vast ocean territory.

There are a total of 42 MPAs in South Africa. MPAs are critical management tools for safeguarding coastal and ocean natural capital, supporting biodiversity and protecting the ecosystems on which many communities rely for food security and livelihoods. Yet less than 10 per cent if its waters are protected in some way.

Following the agreement in Montreal of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Global Biodiversity Framework, this meeting was one of the first focused on how to source the financing to achieve the 30×30 target.

Insuring Against IUU Fishing

ORRAA member Oceana has led 
a key initiative to empower the insurance industry to deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In March 2023, this culminated in the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), which represents the world’s leading insurance marketplace, releasing a contract clause to exclude the provision of insurance services to any vessel that is listed on the IUU Fishing Vessel List of one or more Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs).

Solution Sessions

Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Solution Lab, 11 April

The TNFD is a key mechanism for the private sector to measure, report, and act on biodiversity impacts, risks, and opportunities.

As part of its framework, the TNFD aims to address nature-related risks to the ocean, but questions remain on how to adequately measure impacts on ocean biodiversity and how it will be applied in practice to marine sectors.

On 11 April, our member Clyde & Co. hosted an ORRAA Solution Lab to convene partners to discuss lessons learned from the TNFD’s work to date and issues that need to be addressed in the TNFD’s approach to ocean and marine resources.

The Lab aimed to set out practical steps to assist the TNFD in further refining the ocean components and metrics in the framework. Coming out of the Lab, we submitted joint feedback to the TNFD’s public consultation on the fourth draft version of its framework.

Insurance Development Forum (IDF) Summit 2023, 1 – 2 June

ORRAA member, IDF held its annual Summit – the global flagship event of the climate and disaster risk finance and insurance community.

As part of its Innovation Afternoons, ORRAA hosted a session entitled “Building Coastal Resilience: The Role of Insurance and Data”. The event convened a panel of our members: Swiss Re Foundation, AXA, WTW and UNDP, to highlight the importance of cross-sector partnerships and the role the insurance sector can play in identifying and co-developing innovative solutions that support building coastal resilience.

It showcased the importance of data as the foundation to enable better risk management decisions, including highlighting the Coastal Risk Index as the new platform for assessing coastal risks, and Vessel Viewer, the insurance de-risking tool to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Global Resilience Partnership-USAID: Resilience Evidence Forum, 20 – 22 June

GRP-USAID: Resilience Evidence Forum was a three-day interactive gathering, convened by ORRAA member GRP, in Cape Town, South Africa to advance the conversation about what works and what does not in building resilience. The forum took stock of the latest resilience evidence across different scales, units of analysis, and themes.

During the forum, participants unpacked the latest methodological lessons, discussed the implications for both evidence users and producers, and co-created a shared set of principles and priorities. Underpinning all this sits a recognition of the plurality of worldviews, disciplines, sectors, and geographies when it comes to resilience, only matched by a recognition of the need to create shared wayfinding between evidence bases. The forum took place between 20 and 22 June 2023. Learn more about the forum and watch session recordings on the virtual platform.

See also the ground-breaking paper released just in advance of the Forum which helps define resilience in a post-COVID world.

Resilience Evidence Forum in numbers:

  • 1000+ online participants
  • 200+ in-person participants
  • 140+ organisations represented
  • 80+ contributors & speakers
  • 20 parallel sessions
  • 7 plenary sessions

Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge 2023 (ORIC23)

The nine finalists of ORRAA’s latest Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC23) – which is backed by the Swiss Re Foundation, the UK’s Blue Planet Fund and U.S. Department of State, have been selected from 50 submissions from around the world.

1. Servicios Digitales para la Pesca Sostenible’s PescaData App is enhancing data-driven decision making for sustainable fishing practices in Mexico.

2. Center for People and Environment BD’s (CPE BD’s) research seeks to build more climate-resilient fishing communities along the coastal belt of Bangladesh.

3. Bahari Remedies Co. Ltd is working to innovate microinsurance products that reduce risks for small-scale seaweed farmers in Tanzania.

4. Sayari Ventures is deploying a Seaweed Farm as a Service (SFaaS) business model in Kenya that rents farming equipment and supplies, offers maintenance and repair services, and provides training to seaweed farmers for a fixed period.

5. Germark Holdings Limited aims to develop finance solutions for farmers in Tanzania to support coastal restoration while generating a stable source of income for them.

6. Acari LLC’s Planet positive treats is building a microprocessor network to mitigate invasive species in Mexico.

7. Sahabat Laut Lestari (SLL Fisheries)’s Perahu Apps is advancing fisheries traceability and financial inclusion in Indonesia.

8. Mwani Blu is working on a traceable, sustainable, and inclusive blockchain-driven seaweed marketplace in Kenya.

9. PULA Advisors is creating a hybrid disaster risk insurance product for coastal communities in the Philippines.

ORIC23 provides mentoring, leadership training and funding to help locally led innovative projects scale-up. The most promising five projects from the ORIC23 cohort can each receive up to USD$50,000 in the next phase of the programme. Read more here.

UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue, 13 – 14 June, Bonn

The UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue in Bonn chaired by Canada and Chile, facilitated interactive discussions and effective deep dives of what is needed to further centralize the role of the ocean in climate change mitigation and adaptation action in preparation for COP28.

ORRAA signed onto a statement by a number of members focused on the policy actions needed to strength action on the ocean and coasts under the UNFCCC.

Our Innovation and Scaling Director, Ariane Steins-Meier, spoke at the UNFCCC Ocean-Climate Dialogue on 13 June in Bonn showcasing locally led innovative financial solutions in support of building climate resilience in fisheries and food security. Ariane briefed attendees about ORRAA supported projects AFO and Rare.

The dialogue will highlight case studies and further support the exchange between parties about the role of Ocean and nature-based solutions in tackling the impacts of climate change.

Stockholm Resilience Centre Reports: Putting ocean sand on the global sustainability agenda

Sand is the second most used natural resource in the world after water, and it is extracted far quicker than it can be naturally replenished.

Yet, it has remained largely absent from discussions around the blue economy, despite literally lying at its core.

A Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) report commissioned by ORRAA and supported by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rurals Affairs, entitled Ocean Sand: Putting Sand On The Ocean Sustainability Agenda, was published in May.

The Report, which included collaborations with the Global Resilience Partnership, Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, and the University of British Colombia Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, aims to put sand on the ocean sustainability agenda by highlighting its relevance for ocean risks and resilience.

Highlighting women’s contribution to seafood production in African countries through eight national factsheets

Eight national factsheets developed by ORRAA together with the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) and the SRC were released in May, sharing data regarding women’s contributions to the seafood sector in the following countries:

  1. Cabo Verde
  2. The Gambia
  3. Madagascar
  4. Mauritius
  5. Mozambique
  6. Senegal
  7. Sierra Leone
  8. The United Republic of Tanzania

These publications are part of a growing open access knowledge platform, supported by ORRAA and co-developed with national experts.

Further factsheets will be developed for countries in the Caribbean, Africa, Oceania and Southeast Asia over the next two years.

Upcoming Events

Please let us know if there are additional events in which your organisations are taking part:

COP 28
UNFCCC Conference of the Parties
Ocean Day at COP28 will be on Monday 4 December
Finance Day will be Saturday 9 December
30 November – 12 December 2023
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Should you have anything that you would like us to add to the next newsletter, please send it to Please also let us know if you have any questions or would like to set up an individual video conference to catch up.

Our mailing address is:
2336 Wisconsin Ave, NW #32043
Washington, DC 20007