Kenya has more than 300 miles of coastline and its oceans form the foundation of the country’s “blue economy,” generating food, and supporting jobs in fishing and tourism. But like so much of the world’s oceans, these marine and coastal areas are under pressure from overfishing, unplanned development, plastic litter, wastewater, and agricultural runoff, posing a threat not only to the local environment but also to its economy and to the safety of people living in coastal areas. Tourism alone accounts for 6.5 percent of Kenya’s GDP and employs 1.5 million people.
Solution and Impact:
Political risk insurance will support an innovative project by The Nature Conservancy of Arlington, Virginia to create a trust for long-term investment in conservation in these coastal areas.
The Nature Conservancy will structure a “Blue Bonds” transaction aimed at generating up to $5 million for conservation projects every year by purchasing and restructuring the country’s sovereign debt. Funds raised through this restructuring will be invested in marine conservation activities along Kenya’s coastline, which is home to 10 percent of the Kenyan population, and throughout Kenya’s marine waters. The trust will provide conservation grants to NGOs, public sector agencies, national universities, small businesses and/or community-based organizations through an open and competitive process.
The project will also include the completion of a science-based participatory marine spatial planning (MSP) process for Kenya’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone to guide the development and implementation of protected area management plans. The MSP will consider the competing demands on Kenya’s waters, including biodiversity conservation, recreation, tourism, shipping lanes, commercial and artisanal fishing areas and aquaculture, etc.
The Nature Conservancy’s innovative project to raise money for coastal and marine conservation by restructuring existing debt was a finalist in the TED Audacious Project, that recognizes bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges.