The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday launched a publication calling for scaling up of finance flows into ocean health improvement and related projects in Asia and the Pacific to combat growing threats from unchecked pollution into rivers, lakes, and seas due to rapid economic growth.
The publication, Financing the Ocean Back to Health in Southeast Asia: Approaches for Mainstreaming Blue Finance, was launched at the ADB Healthy Oceans Tech and Finance Forum, which runs January 26–28.
Developed by the ADB-managed ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Green Catalytic Finance Facility (ACGF), the publication recognizes the environmental and economic benefits of healthy oceans for Southeast Asian economies as well as sustainable livelihoods of the subregion’s large coastal population.
It identifies challenges associated with blue-related projects, such as inadequate revenue models which constrain flows of private capital into the sector. The publication presents models which could be used by governments to meet such challenges, including guarantee structures, pooled finance vehicles, and innovative bonds.
“Ocean health is important not just for direct economic growth for the many industries that utilize the region’s water bodies, but because our oceans absorb almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and are therefore critical in combating the planet’s climate change crisis,” said ADB Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ahmed M. Saeed, who launched the publication. “Finance must flow from the private sector to this crucial priority, and for that governments must use their funds innovatively.”
The publication also outlines the need for a regional initiative to improve capacities, knowledge, and project pipelines in ocean health. ADB has commenced rollout of the Blue SEA (Southeast Asia) Finance Hub, to support this effort. The hub is located in ADB’s office in Jakarta, Indonesia, and supported by the ACGF.
“The blue hub is a much-needed effort that will bring blue frameworks and road maps for capacity and policy development to our region’s members, including through a partnership we have established with the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme),” said ADB Country Director for Thailand and Unit Head of the ACGF Anouj Mehta. “Further, we have allocated technical assistance funds to support project development through the hub.”
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.