Glasgow, Scotland - The United Kingdom, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) today commend the Fiji Government’s plan to issue a sovereign Blue Bond in 2022.
This Blue Bond will raise up to US$50 million for investments to deliver a sustainable blue economy, create jobs and protect Fiji’s ocean and biodiversity.
The plan to issue Fiji’s first Blue Bond was announced at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow by the Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, at the Alliance of Small Island States Pavilion.
The Government of Fiji is working closely with the United Kingdom, UNDP and UNCDF to develop and issue the Bond by the summer of 2022.
“Fiji’s pioneering approach will help provide finance to deliver new Marine Protected Areas, sustainable fisheries, green shipping and nature-based solutions to protect vulnerable communities from sea level rise. The UK is proud to be supporting Fiji in this ambitious and innovative endeavour,” said Lord Goldsmith, UK's Minister for the Pacific and the International Environment.
Funds raised through the Bond will contribute to setting up Fiji’s blue economy on a carbon neutral path by 2050, and help Fiji meet its commitments under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 14: Life below Water, in the face of a sharp COVID-induced economic downturn that began in 2020.
“For UNDP and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), it is a privilege to work with the Government of Fiji and the Government of the United Kingdom to develop the Framework for Fiji’s new Blue Bond and design investible projects to be financed by the Bond proceeds,” said Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP.
“The Blue Bond will spur new efforts in Fiji to protect & restore the ocean while opening-up a range of new opportunities in the form of jobs & livelihoods. This is vital as many communities are still suffering from the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ocean holds deep cultural, socio-economic and dietary significance for Fijians, with 76 per cent of the country living within five kilometers (km) of the coastline and a marine ecosystem valued at FJ$2.4 billion (US$1.16bn).
Fiji is also home to five percent of the world’s coral reefs, including the world's third-longest barrier reef system, the Great Sea Reef, which extends for 200 km and is teeming with marine life.
But this crucial resource is under threat on multiple fronts, including from climate change and over-exploitation, requiring urgent financial resources to preserve and protect.
The Blue Bond will provide investors with attractive investment opportunities which support ocean-friendly sustainable development.
“What we are doing as UNCDF, together with UNDP, is helping structure the investment pipeline with the support of the UK Government‘s Blue Planet Fund and other partners. We are looking at marine protected areas, green shipping and fisheries. These are vital areas for Fiji,” said UNCDF Executive Secretary, Preeti Sinha.
“In addition to technical assistance we can offer a toolkit of financing instruments – loans, guarantees, blended funds and bonds. We believe in the de-risking role of donor capital, and using this to attract private capital.
“We want the Fiji entrepreneurial spirit to emerge. Together we stand as partners. Hopefully we can take blue to be the new green and also help the COVID recovery as we get more funding into Fiji.”
Fiji has been a leading climate advocate for Small Island Developing States in global forums, consistently urging developed countries to provide innovative finance to help the developing world cope with the impacts of climate change.
The announcement comes just five years after Fiji issued sovereign Green Bonds to raise funds for climate change adaption and mitigation projects prior to assuming the presidency of COP23.
This latest attempt to raise funds is a bid to achieve the vision outlined in the country’s National Ocean Policy: “a healthy Ocean that sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of current and future generations of Fiji.”
Sheldon Chanel, Communications Officer at UNCDF/UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, firstname.lastname@example.org