Marine and Coastal Finance Working Group

Marine and coastal ecosystems are extremely valuable and under severe threat.  Conservation finance solutions are essential building blocks to successful marine protected areas (MPAs), sustainable fisheries, and conservation of critical near shore and open water habitats.  Although some material has been written on finance for MPAs, there is still inadequate understanding, capacity, and use of conservation finance solutions in the marine and coastal space. 

 The Marine and Coastal Finance Working Group seeks to consolidate and share knowledge and experience around conservation finance solutions pertinent to these critical conservation targets.  The long-term objective is to build capacity among marine and coastal conservation and sustainable use practitioners in the knowledge and use of conservation finance solutions.  The solutions will seek to increase available finance, reduce pressures on the ecosystems through better aligning incentives, and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of conservation actions.  Initial focus will be on coral reefs and related ecosystems (mangroves, sea grass) due to the urgency of this challenge.

Specifically, the activities of the group include:

  • Build and support the community of conservation finance practitioners working in the marine and coastal conservation field through membership and participation in the WG.

  • Develop guidance material for coastal and marine conservation practitioners to build capacity on conservation finance – this could include developing a project to publish an update to the classic WWF report “Financing Marine Conservation: a menu of options” Spergel and Moye, 2004. This can also include developing entries to the revised Conservation Finance Guide.

  • Compile lessons learned and case studies from innovative pilot activities and develop effective information dissemination approaches.

  • Coordinate and collaborate with existing initiatives focused on marine and coastal conservation finance and seek to complement on-going efforts undertaken under the auspices of other organizations.

  • Where practical, support field-application of these mechanisms on a pilot basis, raising funding as needed or working with organizations/groups who already have funding

  • Organize at least one annual symposium on marine and coastal finance mechanisms at special policy events and/or conferences to advance adoption of new approaches to support financial sustainability for marine and coastal conservation.

Upcoming Online Meeting: September 12th, 5pm EDT

On September 12th, 2019 at 5pm EDT CFA will be holding the first online meeting of the Marine and Coastal Finance Working Group. Group Chair Melissa Walsh with be hosting the meeting along with Executive Director David Meyers. Please use the button below if you would like to RSVP for the meeting or find information at the bottom of this page about joining the Marine and Coastal Finance WG.


  • Overview of Conservation Finance Alliance and purpose of the Marine and Coastal Finance working group

  • Introductions (3 minutes per participant: your name, title, organisation, and relevant marine and coastal finance experience / current projects)

  • Working group goals and objectives

    • Definition of role and expectations

    • Knowledge products to be developed

    • Identification of webinar topics and resources (2-4 per year)

    • Funding and fundraising

  • Working group participation and representation at events and conferences

  • Membership and recruitment

  • Format and frequency for communications

Chair: Melissa Walsh


Dr. Melissa Walsh is a global leader in marine conservation finance with 20 years experience in coral reef science, management, and finance in Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, and Australia. Dr. Walsh designed and is currently directing the Pacific Ocean Finance Program to improve the amount and efficacy of ocean finance for eleven Pacific Island countries. Previously, Dr. Walsh led a team of experts to investigate private sector investments for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Dr. Walsh has worked across all sectors in marine conservation - government, private, academia, and NGO. In 2011, Melissa was awarded the “Global Leader Award” by Conservation International for developing the $10 million USD Hawaii Fish Trust. Melissa holds a BS in Chemistry & Marine Science (University of Miami), a MS in Oceanography (University of Hawaii), and a PhD in Marine Conservation Finance (James Cook University).

Interested in Joining the CFA Marine and Coastal Finance Working Group?

First, make sure you are registered as a CFA member.

Then, use the form below to contact the chair with your name and a short message about your interest in CFA Environmental Funds.