Global partners pledge support for blue economy investments in the OECS
(CMC): The nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has unveiled several blue economy investment opportunities on the opening day of its Sustainable Development Movement (SDM 2020).
The World Bank defines the blue economy as sustainable use of the resources of the world's oceans and seas for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs and improved health of the ocean's ecosystems.
The St. Lucia-based OECS Commission said the blue economy investment portfolio comprises 10 regional project concepts, five areas of interest for private sector investment, and a range of national interventions identified by OECS member states as priorities for implementation.
It said blue investment opportunities proposed include aquaculture, mariculture, fisheries, conversion of fish waste to fertiliser and other products, renewable energy exploration, waterfront development, fishing village resorts, coastal replanting, and beach nourishment.
The establishment of a Biosphere Resources Research Facility, a Marine Services Training School, as well as a Blue Economy Incubator and Accelerator programme, have also been proposed.
The Commission said that among the global partners attending the virtual Blue Economy Investors forum was the World Bank, which is currently administering the Caribbean Regional Oceanscape Project (CROP) on behalf of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the tune of US$6.3 million. Senior environmental specialist at the World Bank Group, Sylvia Michele Diez, said that the Washington-based financial institution has a very large blue economy portfolio, with over US$5.6 billion in active projects.
Diez said the World Bank has been investing in coastal protection and resilience and has been developing innovative financing instruments for the blue economy across all regions, especially the Caribbean.
It is also actively working in nature-based solutions, including investments in coastal wetlands, mangroves, and coral reef restoration.
The World Bank’s latest Blue Economy investment initiative is titled 'Unleashing the Blue Economy in the Eastern Caribbean (UBEEC)' and is aimed at supporting economic recovery in the Eastern Caribbean through economic diversification, generating jobs, and supporting MSMEs and local livelihoods in the OECS.
The three priority areas of the UBEEC project are sustainable tourism, fisheries and aquaculture, and waste management, with Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica being the beneficiaries.
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