DFC-supported transaction in Belize wins Environmental Finance Bonds 2022 Award
An innovative DFC transaction to raise money for marine conservation in Belize by restructuring the country’s sovereign debt has won Environmental Finance’s Bond Award for its financial innovation and environmental impact.
Environmental Finance, a news site covering sustainable investment and green finance, said that the transaction enabled Belize to commit to protecting 30 percent of its territorial sea, which houses part of the Mesoamerican Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also enabled the country to establish a regulatory framework for coastal blue carbon projects.
DFC provided political risk insurance to support The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Arlington, Virginia in the creation of a fund for long-term conservation investment. The transaction aims to generate up to $180 million, over the next 20 years, for projects that will strengthen marine conservation, coral reef and mangrove restoration, economic diversification, and sustainable tourism along Belize’s coastline.
DFC’s participation in this innovative transaction will bolster economic resiliency and improve the safety of people living in coastal areas. Belize has 240 miles of coastline and an economy that is highly dependent on coastal tourism, but climate change, unsustainable development, and overfishing are rapidly degrading the country’s coastal areas.
Environmental Finance recognized the transaction as a potential blueprint to finance other emerging market countries’ climate objectives without adding to their indebtedness.
The project was also a finalist in the TED Audacious Project that recognizes bold solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges.