Climate Finance | March 11, 2017

Behind the scenes of the Seychelles debt-for-nature deal

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Last year’s deal between the Seychelles government and The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest unit was touted as a game changer for climate finance (see, “Debt-for-Nature Swaps Let Impact Investors Finance Climate Resilience”).

Behind the scenes, philanthropic grants helped convince the Seychelles to do the deal — and could be the key to engineering future deals for overburdened, climate-vulnerable countries.

A new case study from Convergence, the blended-finance matchmaker, found that $5 million in grants from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, China Global Conservation Fund, and others enabled the Seychelles to raise their commitment to marine conservation.

NatureVest helped the Seychelles restructure $21.6 million in sovereign debt. In turn, the Seychelles agreed to a large marine protected area in the West Indian Ocean and created a permanent fund for climate adaptation efforts.

There are at least 15 other small island countries with high debt loads that are vulnerable to climate change.

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