Barbados is set to unlock $50 million in funding for conservation of its entire marine ecosystem through a debt-for-nature refinancing program. The island nation committed at last year’s COP to protect 30% of its territorial waters but lacks the funds to do so.
In response, The Nature Conservancy will work with partners to buy a piece of Barbados’ national debt and refinance it to facilitate this goal, using a program known as “Blue Bonds”. The strategy recruits financier partners to buy outstanding debt from previous holders and re-negotiate terms with more favourable interest rates, on the condition that the nation spends the savings on ocean conservation.
The Seychelles established protections over an area twice the size of Great Britain through a Nature Conservancy Blue Bond finance arrangement in 2016. The program could help protect over 4 million square kilometers of the planet’s ocean, a 15% increase in global marine protection, according to Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy.