Thursday, November 10, 2016

Building Island Resilience Through Innovative Financing

Real innovation happened in Paris that highlights ways to help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change right now.

  At the COP 21 climate talks in Paris, the Government of the Seychelles announced the protection of a vast swath of Indian Ocean that surrounds this island nation off the coast of East Africa. This protection of their natural infrastructure – coral reefs, mangroves and coastal ecosystems which provide a buffer between the sea and their communities – is essential for Seychelles to increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change.     Seychelles’ commitment to a marine spatial plan for its entire exclusive economic zone, the first small island developing state to do so, will help the country plan where to focus their efforts most urgently.     These adaptation measures will be financed by an innovative financial deal, facilitated by The Nature Conservancy and supported by creditors in the Paris Club and South Africa, that restructures the country’s foreign debt. The deal has also brought together private investors and philanthropic foundations, creating a unique public-private-civil society collaboration. This new financial arrangement will ensure that Seychelles is able to fund these adaptation activities well into the future, through the creation of a new independent trust fund.     During a high profile event at COP 21, representatives from Seychelles, investors and supporters discussed what was required to make this happen, the conservation and adaptation benefits that were secured, and the potential for this model to be replicated elsewhere. Following Seychelles’ announcement of this historic debt deal for adaptation, several island nations from the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Caribbean regions have also expressed interest in exploring if such a mechanism could be crafted for them as well.       Watch the video above to learn more about this historic deal, and see how islands are innovating, adapting and helping one another to meet the challenges of climate change.