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United States invests in Ocean resilience by supporting flagship projects   

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Thursday 10 November – The United States announced today at COP27 that it is investing in three flagship ocean resilience projects.  

Through the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), the United States is providing a grant of $1 million to support three initial projects, from developing locally led projects through to innovative tools to identify the risk reduction benefits of marine ecosystems for coastal communities.  

At the Our Ocean Conference in Palau earlier this year, the United States announced its commitment to ORRAA, to build investment into Ocean resilience solutions.   

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry says: “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, defense against climate change.  

“The United States is proud to work together with ORRAA to protect our ocean.”  

Karen Sack, Executive Director, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) says: “We are honoured to count the US as a key supporter of ORRAA’s work to rebuild coastal and ocean resilience through targeted investments that enable us to accelerate our mission, especially when it comes to building resilience in Small Island Developing States and coastal Least Developed Countries.”  

The United States is supporting three of ORRAA’s projects:  

  • 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. To date, CORVI assessments have been successfully implemented in 11 coastal cities around the world. Additional funding for the project will come from a grant to the Stimson Center, from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
  • The second project to benefit from investment is 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 United States will be supporting work to maximise the CRI’s potential as a tool for local resilience practitioners and risk industry stakeholders and to develop a specific case study focused on the benefits of coral reefs and mangroves in reducing current and future hazards for the Dominican Republic. This tool has been created through a collaboration led by ORRAA with insurance giant AXA, experts at UC Santa Cruz and IHE Delft, and with the support of the Government of Canada and the UK’s Blue Planet Fund
  • The United States will also back the third wave of the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) in collaboration with the Swiss Re Foundation, which 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. Drawing on the multi-sector expertise of ORRAA’s members and partners as mentors and guides, the Challenge aims to surface, grow and scale promising locally led solutions and acts as a catalyst to accelerate their development and deployment
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaking at COP27. Picture by Karen Sack, Executive Director, ORRAA