Speech by Chiyo Kanda, World Bank Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka
(As prepared for delivery)
Honorable Minister Aminath Shauna (MOECCT), Honorable State Minister Ismail Ali Manik (MOF), Distinguished Guests, Partners, Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. A-salaam Alaikum.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this workshop on mobilizing finance for nature and climate in the Maldives.
As you all know, natural resources, or natural capital as economists like to call them, are a critical foundation of the Maldives’ economy—the cornerstone of its blue economy, so to speak. The Maldives’ economy is much more reliant on blue resources than most other countries, with about 80 percent of aggregate national incomes and most jobs being from tourism and fisheries. Sectors which critically dependent on healthy natural capital—coral reefs, mangroves, fish, coastlines. At the same time, a flip side of this blessing means that the country is more exposed and vulnerable to climate change.
As you all know, the foundations of the Maldivian blue economy are coming under greater strain, with growing challenges of sustainable resource management and increased exposure to potential climate change impacts.
It is vital therefore to scale nature-positive investments that allow the very foundations of the blue economy, to be sustainably managed and resiliently built – using for instance nature-based solutions and green and resilient infrastructure – and also increase the sustainability and productivity of the sectors.
There is a significant funding gap for such undertakings, and the public and concessional financing alone cannot fill this gap, and that is why it is critical to mobilize resources from the private sector, as my colleague Martin will show in just a moment and we will hear from distinguished speakers throughout the day.
Leveraging public funding to attract private financing is imperative, as public finance alone will not be anywhere near enough. And it is critical to do so in a fiscally responsible way.
This workshop will explore different ways of blending such public and private finance, showcase different financial instruments, and engage thought leaders and practitioners in this area to discuss the latest innovations and opportunities to scale nature action.
As we all know, there are many financial instruments, innovations, and initiatives to support financing nature and climate. This workshop is intended to highlight recent developments and share lessons learned from experiences applying some of these instruments.
Aside from our honored guests from the Government of Maldives, who are our main audience for this workshop, we are pleased that many development partners have joined us today, who bring tremendous experiences and insights to the discussion and are actively working to mobilize private capital for nature and climate outcomes. We need to continue to increase collaboration to promote financial instruments and to deploy technical tools to channel private capital to scale nature action.
Today’s distinguished speakers come with their unique perspectives on how to optimize finance for nature and climate action. The plurality of their vantage points will contribute significantly to highlighting the latest developments in this sector and support the Government of Maldives in its journey to scale nature and climate action.
An “all of the above strategy” is needed to explore potential financing for scaling nature action, including policy, debt, and non-debt instruments. There isn’t a single financial instrument that can provide all the financing needed to plug the gap in nature/climate financing. Rather, a broad range of financial structures and investment types should be considered, of course paying close attention to debt-limits, implications on concessional resources, macro- and fiscal realities.
Today we will hear about various different instruments and attempt to bring some order to the discussion.
At the World Bank, we have been supporting the mobilization of private capital in several capacities in many countries. Examples of some of the recent transactions that the Bank helped shape will be presented during the course of the day, such as:
- Wildlife Conservation Bond in South Africa
- Seychelles Blue Bond
- IFC Forest Bond in Kenya
- And many others
I look forward to a productive event, and hope you will find most useful and relevant to the Maldives.
Thank you for listnening. Shukuriyya.