Blue Economy In Focus at Launch Event in Nadave
October 16, 2023
Nadave, Fiji – The United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific has stated that the Blue Economy holds the potential for an unprecedented wave of human development.
During the launch of the Blue Accelerator Grant Scheme 2.0 (BAGS), and Drua Innovation Small Grants Scheme (DISGS) at the Centre for Appropriate Technology and Development (CATD) in Nadave, Kanni Wignaraja said that Pacific Small Island Developing States were fast becoming exciting test beds for innovative sustainable development solutions that utilize the immeasurable wealth of our oceans.
The BAGS is the first incubator of its kind in Fiji and the Pacific. It seeks to address the need to support viable investment-ready projects in the blue economy space by incubating a pipeline of transformative projects that attract and leverage private financing from, but not limited to, venture capitalists, pension funds, philanthropies, bilateral partners, and the Government of Fiji. BAGS is already supporting eight transformative projects across the country.
At present, 20 projects centered on the Blue Economy and climate solutions are being supported, with the expectation to extend this to 27 through the BAGS 2.0.
The second iteration of the BAGS will call for funding proposals from non-government organizations working in the blue economy space, focusing on five key thematic areas aligned to Fiji’s national development priorities: i) Sustainable Aquaculture; ii) Marine Conservation and Protection; iii) Blue Shipping and E-mobility; iv) Sustainable Waste Management; and v) Sustainable and Eco-Tourism.
Following the success of and using the same modality as the BAGS, the Government of Fiji – with support from the Governments of the United Kingdom and Luxembourg – rolled out the DISGS in April 2023, which focused on supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) working on climate adaptation and resilient solutions, with a cross-cutting focus on women’s empowerment. Following a comprehensive and competitive screening and evaluation process, 13 SMEs implementing transformative solutions have been selected as performance-based grant recipients for the DISGS.
Ms. Wignaraja said the mobilization of private capital towards transformative Blue Economy projects in the Pacific is a major priority for UNDP’s multi-country programme strategy, and the realization of wider sustainable development agenda and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“UNDP’s growing focus in the Blue Economy sector falls in line with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. In Fiji, we have been working with Government to incubate a robust pipeline of blue projects that can be scaled up using blended finance solutions such as a sovereign blue bond, bilateral budget support, credit guarantee support, and private equity solutions,” she said.
Much of this work is being housed at the CATD in Nadave, with the site now expanding its foothold with the creation of the Bau Innovation Hub.
“Having recipient businesses being hosted in Nadave, and linking technical skills development with direct employment for CATD graduates is a game-changing concept for the circular economy and for sustainable development. Nadave is a place where big transformation can, and will, happen,” Ms. Wignaraja said.
For further media enquiries please contact:
Ashna Kumar, Communications Associate | UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji | email@example.com
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