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Impact Investment to manage the 2nd largest marine area of the Dominican Republic

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Contributed by Blue Finance

A Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement was signed on February 23rd 2018, for co-management of the second largest Protected Area (PA) of the Dominican Republic. A co-management body, a non-profit company, is expected to hit the triple bottom line: social, environmental and economic impact via the creation of new job opportunities in the Blue Economy sector for local populations, the conservation of critical ecosystems and financial returns.

The new company will receive major financing for its initial capital expenditures from international impact investors. In time, it is expected to be financially sustainable and generate its own incomes from user fees and innovative tourism models.

The non-profit company is comprised of 2 local conservation NGOs, 2 local foundations of the major tourism holdings in the country and other associations. The company will be responsible for hiring and managing the staff to carry out the co-management activities for the PA agreed to with the Government for a period of 10 years. This will be carried out with no increase in public debt, as the entity will purchase required equipment and pay personnel for the Sanctuary. The company itself will be guided by a multidisciplinary Advisory Council, of public and private citizens.

Initial capital expenditures are expected to be provided by the Sustainable Ocean Fund, an impact investment fund dedicated to creating, accelerating, and executing sustainable fishery, aquaculture and coastal conservation projects globally. Impact Investment in marine conservation is a new concept with investors investing in enterprises that can deliver conservation actions and improved livelihoods for local stakeholders, in addition to basic economic returns. In the Dominican Republic (DR), Blue finance has been working closely with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Blue finance received sterling support from the FGPC (Fundacion Grupo Punta Cana), among others. Blue finance will now assist in the implementation of the financial arrangements and establishment of a project management office within the co-management company, to ensure that the highest standards in MPA practice, tourism product development, community engagement and general management are met.

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Asha-Gaye Cowell
Program Officer, Conservation Finance
Asha-Gaye Cowell is the Conservation Finance Program Officer. She has a diversified academic background, which includes a BSc. Economics and Statistics with first class honors, MSc. International Public and Development Management and a Visiting Fellowship Certification from the University of Oxford where she studied Behavioral Economics along with Strategy and Ethics. Complementing her academic prowess is a cross-section of professional experiences, including work with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), UNECLAC, USAID, the Permanent Missions of Jamaica to the UN, among others. With extensive civic involvement, volunteerism, and strategic partnerships, Asha is very passionate about leadership, international and regional development, economics, youth and climate change.

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