by Khaila Gentle
LISBON, Portugal, Fri. July 1, 2022
Belize’s successful negotiation of the Blue Bond was one of several topics highlighted at the UN Oceans Conference 2022 this past week. Beverly Wade, Director of the Blue Bonds and Finance Permanence Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister, presented “Blue Bonds in Action” at one of the conference’s side events, titled “Enhancing Support for the Sustainable Blue Economy: Scaling Innovative, Transformative and Durable Investments in SIDS”. The presentation was done alongside representatives from the government of Seychelles.
According to a press release from the Government of Belize Press Office, “The country’s successful negotiation of the Blue Bond was heralded as novel, innovative, and pioneering in debt restructuring and creating finance permanence for funding its ambitions in ocean conservation and livelihood protection.”
The second UN Oceans Conference comes at a critical point in time. According to the United Nations, some 60% of the world’s major marine ecosystems are being used unsustainably or have already been degraded. And as the world population grows and human activities increase, so do threats to the ocean and its health. The conference seeks to address this on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable nations—those that not only depend on the ocean for their livelihood but that also are most at risk of experiencing the detrimental effects of climate-related disasters.
Both the UN and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) believe that for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are the stewards of some of the largest ocean territories, a sustainable blue economy agenda could be transformative for national development.
“The benefits of investing in sustainable ocean opportunities are estimated to be at least five times the costs. Recognizing this potential, and motivated by the emerging evidence of ocean decline, recent years have seen a surge in national commitments to ocean conservation,” noted the AOSIS.
In addition to presenting on Blue Bonds in Action, The Ministry of Blue Economy & Civil Aviation (MBECA) took part in numerous other side events throughout the conference, including one on tackling organized crime in the global fishing industry.
“Belize’s new blue economy is already hailed globally as a model to follow. With our approach to conservation financing, sustainable fisheries, and our outstanding marine protected areas system, the UN Ocean’s Conference in Lisbon provided the best opportunity to showcase and engage in opportunities for further support and collaboration at the global level,” stated CEO in the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation, Kennedy Carrillo, in a press release.
At the end of the conference, on July 1, world leaders adopted an action-oriented Political Declaration to save the ocean from existing and future threats, including marine pollution, harmful fishing practices, biodiversity loss, and acidification, titled “Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility.”