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Great Bear Sea Project Finance for Permanence

June 25, 2024 at 11:24 am  Federal, Politics

The Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) model, developed in the Great Bear Rainforest, has become recognized around the world as a powerful tool to advance durable large-scale conservation coupled with sustainable economic and community development.

In 2022, the Government of Canada pledged to deliver up to $800 million in support of up to four Indigenous-led Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) initiatives, including the Great Bear Sea PFP. This conservation finance model secures multi-partner investments in marine stewardship and coastal economies over the long term. The intention is to bring partners, funding, and management plans together to support lasting conservation and sustainable community development in a region. 

The Indigenous-led Great Bear Sea PFP initiative will bring $335 million in new investments to the area known as the Northern Shelf Bioregion and the Great Bear Sea. Contributions include $200 million from the Government of Canada, $60 million from the Province of British Columbia, and $75 million from philanthropic organizations in Canada and around the world. These investments will be leveraged with additional private revenue sources over time to support long term Indigenous-led conservation and advancing the Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network Action Plan.

The Action Plan was endorsed in 2023 as a blueprint to guide the implementation of a network of marine protected areas in the region. The Great Bear Sea PFP will advance protection of 30% of this highly diverse bioregion, and contribute an additional 0.3% to Canada’s 2030 marine conservation targets, which will help conserve significant ecosystems, habitats and species.

Both the Great Bear Rainforest and Great Bear Sea PFPs combine long-term financing for stewardship and conservation and flexible funding for First Nations to invest in local businesses and community infrastructure. The Great Bear Sea PFP initiative builds on the success of the Great Bear Rainforest PFP, which included the creation of Coast Funds.

Coast Funds is an Indigenous-led conservation finance organization established to support First Nations in achieving their goals for conservation, stewardship, and conservation-based economic development. Participating Great Bear Sea PFP Nations have selected Coast Funds to serve as the financial administrator of the new PFP funds, helping to align financial management, program supports, and other services between the forest and the sea. Over the next year, Coast Funds will continue to support First Nations to secure the investments needed to generate returns to support stewardship and implement new funding streams.

Between 2008 and 2023, Coast Funds has delivered nearly $112.7 million in First Nations investments within the Great Bear Rainforest in 460 stewardship, economic development, and sustainable energy projects. During that time, First Nations have leveraged their financing through Coast Funds to:

  • Invest $111.6 million in community-led projects which, over time, have attracted nearly $307 million in additional investment for completed and active projects.
  • Create 120 new businesses across a range of sectors, including tourism, manufacturing and processing, forestry, and transportation.
  • Support more than 1,250 new jobs, including 993 roles held by First Nation community members, which is about 13% of the working-age population in the region.
  • Deliver training for 1,588 people in job skills, first aid and safety, stewardship, vessel operation, and other areas.
  • Carry out 396 scientific research and habitat restoration initiatives to support 75 different species.

The Great Bear Sea PFP initiative builds on this model and will deliver long-term, large-scale conservation that brings partners, funding, and management plans together to support lasting conservation and collaborative implementation of the Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network Action Plan and marks a significant commitment to Indigenous-led conservation, stewardship and collaborative governance.

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