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Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge

Project Leads: ORRAA and Global Resilience Partnership
Support: Government of Canada, United Kingdom’s Blue Planet Fund, Swiss Re Foundation

Summary 

The Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) helps ORRAA build a pipeline of investable projects driven from the ground-up delivering a genuine impact in local communities while also having the potential to mitigate ocean and climate risk more broadly. Drawing on the multi-sector expertise of our members and partners, the Challenge aims to surface, grow and scale promising solutions, and acts as a catalyst to accelerate both locally led innovation and investment to protect the Ocean and the communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.

Challenge 

Our ocean is in crisis. Ocean heating, pollution, overfishing, rising levels of acidity and biodiversity loss are eroding its sustainability, incurring huge financial cost and loss of ecosystem services to countless communities, societies and businesses around the world. Investing in the Ocean is essential if we are to protect the world’s precious coastal and marine natural capital, mitigate climate and financial risks, and build resilience in the communities adapting to climate change. Community-led enterprises are critical to safeguarding both marine natural capital and those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The challenge is that these innovative enterprises often struggle to harness ocean finance. 

Solution

ORRAA’s mission is to drive at least US$500 million of investment into coastal and marine natural capital, surface at least 50 novel finance products and build the resilience of at least 250 million climate-vulnerable coastal people adapting to climate change, by 2030. To help achieve this mission and draw on the multi-sector expertise of our members and partners, the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC) acts as a catalyst to accelerate both locally-led innovation and investment to protect the Ocean and the communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on it.

In 2020, ORRAA launched ORIC, calling for locally-led solutions designed to drive investment in marine and coastal nature, and reduce ocean risk for the people who depend on it. Four winning projects were selected for their level of innovation, potential impact and focus on equity. They were provided with tailored mentoring and offered financial support to maximise their scalability and investability. In November 2021, ORRAA launched the Challenge’s second wave in partnership with the Swiss Re Foundation and the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund. 

ORRAA and partner organisations support all winners to analyse the local context in order to ensure full understanding of the target communities’ challenges, refine project proposals so that they meet the needs of local stakeholders, optimise proposed solutions to improve the viability of their business models and develop a roadmap for implementation.

ORRAA facilitates a Leadership Academy to bolster the skills needed to achieve the long-term goals of Challenge winners’ projects, supports their preparations for formal pitching and connects Challenge winners with funders. Mentors from ORRAA and its partners also work with project leaders to build a broader ecosystem of partners and potential investors, while helping them prepare to take more active roles in leading their solutions as they grow.

Scalability and Next Steps

Overall, ORIC aims to strengthen the projects’ potential for successful launch and scaling by refining business models and boosting individual and institutional resilience. The ultimate aim is to help them build the resilience and adaptive capacity of the communities and regions most exposed to ocean risk. As more winners are announced, ORIC will continue to provide an incubator to launch innovative and scalable community-led enterprises to tackle pressing ocean issues. It will also create a community of learning across the projects so that project leaders can learn from one another, share knowledge and help build a cohort of coastal resilience leaders around the world.

Please click here for further information about ORIC I.

Please click here for further information about ORIC II.