Emerging investment streams will unlock blue economy potential

09 December 2023
Emerging investment streams will unlock blue economy potential

The Commonwealth, in collaboration with the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) and the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) held a high level panel discussion today to highlight new and emerging finance for sustainable investment in the ocean.

The meeting took place at the Commonwealth Pavilion in the wings of COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai and focused on addressing the challenges and opportunities within the blue economy.

Opening the session, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, KC spoke of the unique barriers faced by small island developing states, low-income countries and those with climate-vulnerable coastlines. The Secretary-General said:

"The traditional funding mechanisms, including global financial institutions, are not fit to serve the countries which need them the most. Application processes are too complex, onerous and long, and important investments are deemed to be risky, while vulnerable countries need real action fast.

I am determined that Small Island Developing States should be able to access the finance they need – and deserve - to adapt to climate change and meet their development aspirations. New and untapped streams of finance have an important role to play.”

She added: “This important event will feed into further discussions when Commonwealth Ocean  Ministers meet next April in Cyprus.”

Emerging investment streams will unlock blue economy potential
Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, opened the session

At the event, panellists explored the financial mechanisms available to governments to support sustainable blue investments, including public and private capital, international cooperation, and innovative financing models.

Participants also discussed strategies to mobilise investments for climate adaptation, ocean regeneration and sustainable blue economy development and shared experiences in implementing blue finance mechanisms to inspire others and foster collaboration.

Speaking at the event, Hon Ribanataake Tiwau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, Kiribati, stressed the significance of a sustainable blue economy and the economic potential it can leverage. Yet, he said his country, like other small island developing states, faced unique challenges in realising ocean potential.

“Our ocean is way larger than our small economies, we have a small population, and we also lack many of the enabling conditions including connectivity infrastructures for a sustainable blue economy."

Calling for sustainable and innovative finance, he stressed:

“To really unlock opportunities from the blue ocean to address climate change issues as well as other sustainable economic development aspirations: we need to accelerate the deployment of financial mechanisms to support the national governments, private sectors and the wider local communities."

Hon Ribanataake Tiwau
Hon Ribanataake Tiwau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, Kiribati, spoke about the importance of a sustainable blue economy

This week, Deutsche Bank, became the first bank to join the #BackBlue ocean finance commitment, which is led by the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA). The Commonwealth is an institutional partner of ORRAA.

For more information, follow #CommonwealthForClimate or visit our COP28 hub.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi  Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +442077476168  |  E-mail