A Commonwealth Guide to Ocean Climate Finance: A Guidance Document for Policy-Makers and Ocean Advocates


Commonwealth Secretariat


Drawing from a wide range of resources on ocean climate finance, this guide is intended to support practitioners, policy-makers and ocean advocates to understand the ‘seascape’ of ocean climate finance, and empower them to design and develop more successful ocean climate finance applications. It introduces the special characteristics of ocean-based mitigation and adaptation projects, explains the diffferent sources and types of finance available, and equips readers with a practical understanding of the priorities of different funding groups from both the public and private sectors.

The global ocean is a critically important component of the Earth’s biosphere and climate system, but it faces tremendous threats from the impacts of climate change, including warming, acidification, pollution and development. While the global landscape of climate finance is growing quickly, funding for ocean-based climate mitigation and adaptation projects remains disproportionately small. In this context, the guide provides a clear and practical guide for project design and development, including best practices for securing finance and a wealth of tools and resources for those seeking funding for ocean-based initiatives. These include decision trees to identify the best funding match for your project; checklists for finance applications; and perhaps most importantly, a long-term, strategic approach to project development that is focused on building communities of practice and partnerships between governments, the private sector, public institutions, civil society organisations and communities.

It also includes summaries of funding sources and investment models, as well as case studies and examples of best practice. The guide encourages project proponents to pursue long-term planning for crosscutting projects that deliver multiple integrated goals, both environmental and social. Recognising and addressing the unique features and opportunities of ocean-based projects, and the barriers to them, can contribute to realistic and impactful project design. Furthermore, proactively building partnerships with the private sector allows project proponents to access the largest source of finance in the global economy as well as its associated skills and resources.

cover image, Commonwealth Guide to Ocean Climate Finance



3 November 2022