A key obstacle to effectively managing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a lack of economic resources, but at the Oriental Mindoro MPA in the Philippines, a consortium of dedicated partners is turning one of the world`s most productive ecosystems into a working business case. Local people, nature, and return-seeking investors all benefit.
MPAs are spreading globally but only a few have compliance and enforcement mechanisms in place which are robust enough to truly protect the area. Many may not be much more than paper tigers. The work at Oriental Mindoro is proving that nature protection and money do not have to be mutually exclusive.
The Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF) is financing and supporting the Blue Alliance, a social enterprise formed by local NGOs, communities, and Blue Finance in order to manage the network of MPAs in Or Mindoro. The alliance is expected to become a commercially successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between local governments, civil society, donors, and impact investors. Managing and enforcing MPAs that include pristine coral reefs and mangrove ecosystems is an integral part of the model.
It works by bringing all MPA stakeholders together and providing tangible "value for money" for residents and tourists (primarily divers and snorkellers) to enjoy this superb destination. Incomes from fees, a multimedia visitor centre, and blue carbon will be used to protect nature and create jobs for locals. For the tourists, this means cleaner, clearer water, more fauna, flora, and therefore, fun.
The endeavour in a nutshell
- A Marine Protected Area of more than 5,200 hectares.
- A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that is home to a number of endangered species, including whale sharks, hawksbill turtles, dugongs and many more exciting and critical species.
- A tourist destination welcoming more than 200,000 tourists every year.
- An attractive debt investment opportunity to finance MPA management capital expenditure (CAPEX).