Pacific Ocean Finance 


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11-15 November 2019       Yanuca, Fiji Islands

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© Rita Willaert, Solomon Islands

Bula vinaka. The 2019 Pacific Ocean Finance Conference (POFC 2019) will be held from 11 to 15 November at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort, Yanuca, Fiji Islands.

POFC 2019 is organised by the Pacific Ocean Finance Program, implemented through the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC; affiliated with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat). The Pacific Ocean Finance Program is funded by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility as Component 3 of the FFA Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program.

The conference will bring together ocean and finance experts to exchange and share experiences, new ideas, and research in all aspects of ocean finance and governance, and explore practical challenges and solutions. 

Conference Updates on Meeting Pulse

If you have not received the Meeting Pulse announcement, please go to and use meeting ID “pofc2019” to join.

Conference Information
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© Conservation International / Photo by Peter Stonier
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The Pacific Ocean Finance Conference is the first of its kind for the region. It brings together leading practitioners and experts in ocean governance and finance to support Pacific states’ planning, managing and financing of their ocean domains. 

We are delighted to announce Hon. Umiich Sengebau, Republic of Palau’s Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Robert Weary, Deputy Managing Director of Blue Bonds at The Nature Conservancy, and Simon Dent, Blue Investments Director at Althelia Sustainable Oceans Fund as keynote speakers for the 2019 conference. 

The conference agenda includes presentations on Pacific Ocean Finance projects:

  • the national ocean finance status and opportunities of 11 Pacific Island countries

  • inaugural Pacific Ocean Finance Fellows projects

  • developing of a Pacific Ocean Bond

  • ocean insurance concepts

  • improving taxes and subsidies for ocean health

  • developing finance solutions for community-level and large-scale marine managed areas.


The conference will build on outcomes from the Pacific Ocean Alliance meeting in October 2019. 


Finance for ocean domain management is one of the region’s priorities and we warmly invite people working in ocean conservation, governance and finance to join us for this week of knowledge sharing, learning and networking on a subject that is integral to the success of our Blue Pacific.

© Conservation International / Photo by John Martin
Registration & Abstracts

Registration and abstract submission is closed.

Conference Agenda

Please visit Meeting Pulse for agenda updates, speaker bios, and presentation abstracts. If you have not received the Meeting Pulse announcement, please go to and use meeting ID “pofc2019” to join.

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Theme: Improving Finance for Pacific Ocean Health and Governance


Conference Objectives


  1. Improve collective regional understanding of ocean finance, regional challenges and opportunities to improve ocean finance, and which ocean finance solutions are best suited for the Pacific

  2. Present the preliminary results of research projects funded by the Pacific Ocean Finance Program and solicit feedback from regional stakeholders and international technical experts before these research projects are finalised

  3. Support Pacific Island Countries in developing national ocean finance profiles that articulate country-specific challenges and opportunities to improve national ocean finance and resource mobilisation for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)14



Session Objectives and Outputs


Session 1: Innovative Ocean Finance Solutions


Objective: Identify potential innovative finance solutions for Pacific Ocean health and governance


Format: Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Small Group Discussions


Expected Outputs:

  1. Feedback on the preliminary results of two Pacific Ocean Finance Program - funded research projects - Pacific Ocean Bond and Pacific Ocean Insurance 

  2. Identification of 2-3 additional innovative finance solutions that merit further analysis and development

  3. Identification of key challenges and enabling conditions required for innovative finance solution development in the Pacific context


Session 2: Marine Managed Area Finance


Objective: Identify best practice for finance of Pacific marine managed areas


Format: Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Small Group Discussions


Expected Outputs:

  1. Feedback on the preliminary results of two Pacific Ocean Finance Program - funded research projects - Large-Scale Marine Protected Area Finance and Community Marine Managed Area Finance 

  2. Recommendations to improve Marine Managed Area finance in the Pacific region


Session 3:  TBD


Format: Presentations, Facilitated Q&A

Session 4: National Ocean Finance Profiles and Resource Mobilisation


Objective: Profile the status and opportunities of ocean finance in individual Pacific Island Countries


Format: Workshop with small groups (one group per represented country) to develop an ocean finance snapshot which will then be presented to plenary at the end of the day. Details to be provided to country representatives prior to the conference.


Expected Outputs:

  1. One-page ocean finance snapshot template completed for each of the countries that have a representative attending the conference. 



Session 5: Private Sector Ocean Investments


Objective: Articulate specific opportunities to engage the private sector in Pacific Ocean finance


Format: Presentations, Panel Discussion, and Small Group Discussions


Expected Outputs:

  1. Opportunities to engage the private sector in Pacific Ocean Finance

  2. Challenges in engaging the private sector in Pacific Ocean Finance




Conference Output and Outcomes


A full report with summaries of session outputs (see above) will be made publicly available after the conference on The outputs of the conference will inform the finalisation of the Pacific Ocean Finance Program funded research projects and provide guidance for the next steps of program implementation. 

Accommodation & Logistics

The Pacific Ocean Finance Conference will be held at the Shangri-la Fijian Resort, Yanuca, Fiji Islands.

Accommodation in the area is limited. After confirmation of your participation, book quickly to avoid disappointment.


We regret that the rooms available at the conference rate are now fully booked. (Room rates at the Shangri-La Hotel, available via third party bookings, are now around USD228). 


Other accommodation options include:

Geckos Resort (15 minute stroll)

Sigatoka Malaqereqere Ocean Views (6 min drive)

Yadua Bay Resort (9 min drive)

My Family on Sunset Shore Beach - apartment Sigatoka Town (15 min drive)

Narayan's Apartment Sigatoka Town (15 min drive)

Malaqereqere Villlas (2 min drive or 34 minute walk)

Outrigger Hotel (15 min drive)

Sandy Point Beach Cottages (16 min drive)

Tambua Sands (19 min drive)

Yatule Resort (21 min drive)

Crow's Nest

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© Richard Sidey / Galaxiid



You may need a visa to travel to Fiji. The type of visa required depends both on the duration and purpose of your stay: tourism, professional purposes, studies, family purposes. All visas must be applied for prior to departure from your home country. Please visit to see if you need to apply for a visa.



Participants are advised to obtain adequate travel/medical insurance cover before departing your home country.

Meet Our Speakers
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Hon. F. Umiich Sengebau - Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Republic of Palau

 The Hon. Umiich Sengebau was appointed and confirmed as the Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism for the Republic of Palau in February 2013. He’s responsible for the management, protection and development of Palau’s natural resources, including guiding the implementation of Protected Areas Network (PAN) program and the Palau National Marine Sanctuary initiative. Minister Sengebau also oversees the implementation of Palau’s tourism policy of targeting high-value tourism and the new tourism destination brand of Pristine Paradise. Palau. 

Before joining President Remengesau’s administration, he served as the Deputy Director of Conservation of The Nature Conservancy-Micronesia Program. The Minister holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Guam and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Pacific Islands History from the University of Hawaii. He is a member of the Palau Conservation Society Board of Directors and the Palau Protected Areas Network Fund. He also served on the Environmental Quality Protection Board from 2003 to 2009.

Robert Weary, Deputy Managing Director, NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy 

 Rob has been with the Conservancy for 21 years and is leading their initiative to assist Small Island Developing States and large coastal countries with debt-conversions to finance marine conservation and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.  The first such debt-conversion (approx. US$22 million) was concluded in February 2016 with the Seychelles.  Rob currently serves as the Treasurer on the Board of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust which manages the proceeds from the debt conversion. He is currently developing additional debt-conversions with several countries across the globe in the Caribbean, Latin America, the Pacific, and Africa.

Rob's experiences include work on numerous debt-for-nature swaps in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Belize, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, the design and establishment of an eight country US$100+ million regional endowment (Caribbean Biodiversity Fund) and the associated national-level trust funds, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in sustainable financing for conservation projects in those countries.  


Rob was the primary architect of the Caribbean Challenge, a 12-country/territory regional initiative to place 20% of these countries’ near shore marine areas under protection by 2020 and develop sustainable mechanisms to finance their national systems of Protected Areas. 

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 Simon Dent, Blue Investments Director, Sustainable Ocean Fund, Mirova Natural Capital 

Simon is the founder and Principal of the Sustainable Ocean Fund (SOF) and leads the fund’s investment committee. Established in 2018, the SOF is making pioneering impact investments in the blue economy which directly address ocean issues.

Simon is a recognised leader in the blue economy space. His focus is on developing and funding investable project models that provide clear impact gains for ocean ecosystems, as well as meaningful economic returns for ocean stakeholders and investors. 

He joined Mirova Natural Capital in 2015 and was previously a Managing Director at BNP Paribas where he worked for the bank for over 12 years in Europe and North America in carbon finance and commodities. He was instrumental in setting up the bank’s environmental trading desk and led the BNP Paribas’ carbon emissions sales and trading business. He has more than 25 years of transactional and senior management experience in commodity and sustainable finance.

Simon grew up in New Zealand, loves the ocean and is a qualified diver and yachtsman. He holds a Masters in Corporate and International Finance from Durham University and a MA Business and Economics from Edinburgh University.

Conference Coordination Team

The Pacific Ocean Finance Conference is being coordinated by Dr. Melissa Walsh in partnership with Conservation International, Seema Deo and Linda Bercusson. Please email the conference organisers at if you have any questions or are interested in organising a side event or networking session at the conference.