Skip to content
The ORRAA News – Q2 2024

The ORRAA News – Q2 2024

Dear ORRAA Members and Friends,

Since April, we have been championing our quarterly theme “Nature as an Asset Class”.

In case you missed it, please read about our engagements at the Our Ocean Conference in Athens, the Commonwealth Ocean Ministerial Meeting in Cyprus, and the World Bank Spring Meetings in DC, in our Special Earth Day Bulletin.

This past quarter, Chip had the opportunity to visit some of our projects in the Philippines.

At the Fourth UN SIDS Conference in Antigua and Barbuda, we focused on connecting with partners including UNDP and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs, Fugro, GLISPA and many others, while working to secure investment (and buy-in) to the Outrigger Ocean Fund, Nautilus Ocean Guarantee Facility and Blue Bond Incubator – the “missing middle” and “top-down” financial instruments being incubated under the SCIFF umbrella that we need to build to drive financing at scale and create the capital market for the Ocean. It is exciting to see them gaining traction and investment as they move forward.  

Next stop was Costa Rica for the Immersed in Change conference, where Torsten Thiele focused on blue finance; and then the Ocean and Climate Dialogue where Ariane took ORRAA’s work to Bonn along with partners and members gathered for ocean and climate action. 

The theme of nature as an asset class was underscored this quarter too, by the groundbreaking unanimous advisory opinion issued in late May by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).

The Tribunal held that ocean health and a stable climate are inextricably linked. It concluded that under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), addressing carbon dioxide pollution and regenerating marine biodiversity is critical and that this applies across multilateral environmental agreements.

It also stated that countries have an obligation to reduce their emissions, including going beyond commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement. This opinion, the result of several years of work led by the Commission of Small Island States makes it clear that action to mitigate CO2 emissions and bolster biodiversity regeneration are imperative and go hand in hand. 

These findings were emphasised by Johan Rockstrom at the World Ocean Day summit hosted by the UN in New York. Rockstrom presented a must-view masterclass on the unaccounted for subsidy that nature has been providing to our economic system by sequestering carbon and providing biodiversity, and how the past 100 years of our disregard for these benefits is pointing towards “the first signs of an Earth System losing its resilience.”

A VERY sobering message of which to take heed and to ensure our actions are not a case of ‘too little, too late’, but rather, a recognition of the opportunity to move quickly and effectively to fundamentally change course for good.

ORRAA Executive Director, Karen Sack (centre left), speaking at the United Nations’ World Oceans Day 2024 event on the Blue Economy Panel session.

On a panel with partners from IUCN and Rare at the same event, ORRAA emphasised the importance of driving finance into a regenerating and sustainable blue economy.   

Looking ahead, we continue to build momentum to bring the Ocean and finance into convenings across the Biodiversity COP (COP16), Climate COP (COP29), and next year’s UN Ocean Conference. To set the scene, take a look at the op-ed published in La Tribune on June 7th, exactly a year before the BEFF, co-authored with Ulrike Decoene, our ORRAA Inc. Board Chair and AXA Group’s Head of Communication, Brand and Sustainability. It focuses on “How to Create a New Wave of Investment in the Ocean – while there’s time.”

The upcoming meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in July in Kingston, Jamaica will also be a pivotal moment for either protecting our ocean or opening it up to further exploitation and extraction with unknown consequences.

ORRAA encourages all our members to support a continued pause on deep seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdictions, and our private sector members in particular to consider supporting the WWF-led Business Statement Supporting a Moratorium on Deep Sea Mining. Read more about deep-sea mining and ORRAA’s recommendations in our policy brief here. 

Our Alliance is powering full-steam ahead for the rest of 2024, preparing for our Second Member Meeting on September 25th in New York during Climate Week – all members, please register if you haven’t already as space is filling up.

As always, should you have any questions, news to share or wish to input into the ORRAA News or if you are planning anything where we can work together, please do let us know.

Karen & the ORRAA team 

Quarterly highlights

Project Site Visit, 17-26 April, Philippines

DEFRA Senior Policy Advisor for International Sustainable Blue Finance, Adam Baker (bottom left), next to ORRAA’s Chip Cunliffe, along with Jacqueline Miel-Soliguin, the British Embassy’s Climate Change Attaché, Manila, Flora Belinario, Rare Philippines and their Fish Forever Community Educators.

In April, Chip visited the Philippines to engage with three of our project partners: Blue AllianceCoast 4C and Rare. This visit provided an invaluable opportunity to observe firsthand the impactful work our partners are doing with local communities to build financial resilience and restore coastal and ocean ecosystems through innovative insurance and finance tools.

ORRAA is supporting Blue Alliance to build a USD$22m blended finance facility aimed at creating revenue streams, contributing to the effective management and financial sustainability of marine protected areas.

During his visit to the Coast 4C site, Chip witnessed their efforts to accelerate regenerative seaweed farming as a tool to build the resilience of climate-vulnerable coastal communities within and around marine protected areas. This project exemplifies how sustainable practices can drive both environmental and economic benefits locally.

Finally, with Rare, Chip observed their work in implementing microinsurance for small-scale fishers. This initiative is pivotal in improving financial resilience and promoting sustainable fisheries management, directly benefiting the livelihoods of local fishing communities.

Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
27-30 May, Antigua and Barbuda

In May, Karen attended the United Nations’ Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda along with Simon Dent and Jeremy Milward from The Outrigger Project, Alex Lehman from our Blue Bond Incubator, and Rowan Douglas and Ana Gonzalez Pelaez from Howden all on the ORRAA delegation. ORRAA spoke during the Interactive Dialogue Plenary on making climate finance work for SIDS and also spoke at a side event hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy and Planning and WAVE on the need for regenerative ocean action in Small Island Developing States.

The Outrigger Impact Fund is one of our SCIFF flagship initiatives. Outrigger is a blended finance fund designed to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in SIDS, addressing the critical “missing middle” in financing.  

During our statement, we underscored the potential value for investment following the work we did in collaboration with the Minderoo Foundation and Callund Consulting on the development of a Blue Bond Incubator (BBI) that we released at the Our Ocean Conference in April. The BBI aims to help countries and corporates structure blue bonds to drive investment at scale into a regenerative and sustainable blue economy – with an estimate of the potential to facilitate up to USD$70billion in deals by 2030.

To learn more about the transformative potential of blue bonds, check out our interview with Environmental Finance.

ORRAA’s Karen Sack participated in the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) in Antigua and Barbuda

2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference,
10-12 April, Barcelona 
ORRAA team members Torsten Thiele (centre) and Lindsay Getschel (far right) on the ground at the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona

In April, Lindsay Getschel, our Outreach and Engagement Senior Associate and Torsten Thiele, our Senior Advisor on Blue Finance, joined the ocean science community in Barcelona for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development conference. This event provided a unique platform to integrate blue finance into the UN Decade’s initiatives, emphasising the critical connection between finance and science for informed investment decisions. 

ORRAA, in collaboration with the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, hosted a compelling blue finance side event. Panellists included Torsten, Sylvia Michele Diez from the World Bank, and ORRAA members Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri from Sri Lanka and Louise Heaps from WWF. Their discussions underscored the importance of aligning financial strategies with sustainable ocean science. 

Conservation International and ORRAA also hosted a side event focused on the High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidance and the development of a Practitioner’s Guide for implementing these Principles. This initiative, supported by the UK’s Blue Planet Fund through ORRAA, builds on the momentum from ORRAA’s Solution Lab held in October last year. The Practitioner’s Guide will represent a significant step forward in supporting blue carbon project developers to ensure the effective application of the Principles and Guidance. 

New Team Members

ORRAA continues to grow, and we are thrilled to welcome new team members, including Marianne Carpentier who joins us as Blue Economy and Finance Forum Engagement Lead, Paroma Mitra as an Ocean Risk Data Specialist and Constance Wong as Programme Senior Associate. We are excited about the expertise and energy they all bring to our mission. Welcome aboard Constance, Paroma, and Marianne!

Marianne Carpentier,
BEFF Engagement Lead
Paroma Mitra,
Ocean Risk Data Specialist
Constance Wong,
Programme Senior Associate
Welcome to our New Project Delivery Partners

We are pleased to welcome two new members this quarter as Project Delivery Partners: Coast 4C and Save the Waves.

Save the Waves has nominated Oriente Salvaje in El Savador as the 13th World Surfing Reserve. This designation will initiate a process for further protection and preservation of its “surf ecosystems”. With funding from the government of Canada, ORRAA is supporting Save the Waves in developing parametric insurance products to protect these ecosystems.

ABALOBI Success Highlighted in The Guardian

ORRAA member Abalobi was featured in The Guardian as “the app that’s transforming lives in South African fishing communities.” ORRAA has supported ABALOBI in scaling its financial products that help small-scale fishers through our Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC), supported by the Swiss Re Foundation and through product development pipeline funding from the Government of Canada. 

Commonwealth Secretariat Releases Toolkit for Gender Equality

In April, the Commonwealth’s Blue Charter published a Toolkit for Gender Equality in Ocean Sectors. This Toolkit offers valuable recommendations for building an inclusive and equitable sustainable blue economy.

How to …

Following the launch of the “How to” workshops, a series of interactive discussions led by expert speakers at the World Ocean Summit in Lisbon in March, ORRAA’s Global Lead Banking Partner, Deutsche Bank, released a summary report on its session, “How to Invest Better in the Blue Economy: The Metrics That Matter.”  

Standard Chartered published a report on its session, “How to Develop an Enabling Environment to Finance Sustainable Economic Activity in Conjunction with Ocean Conservation”.  

Sustainable Ocean Alliance Talks with ORRAA and Launches Call for Applications

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) founder & CEO, Daniela V Fernandez, interviewed ORRAA’s Karen Sack for her #PlanetandPurpose newsletter. They discussed what a “capital market” for the Ocean could look like and its implications for young ocean entrepreneurs. SOA has also launched a Call for Applications to join their Ecopreneur Network, which provides support to ocean startups. The second wave deadline is August 5th! 

IUCN’s Groundbreaking Global Mangrove Assessment

In May, IUCN released the first ever global assessment for mangroves using their Red List of Ecosystems. The report warns that over half of the world’s mangroves are at risk of collapse, with nearly 20% at “high risk”.

Members can also follow updates and share news through the ORRAA LinkedIn Comms Community Group. If you’d like to join, drop us a line.

Upcoming Events