The second MERCES webinar: Private Finance in Marine Ecosystem Restoration

MERCES webinar ‘Private Finance in Marine Ecosystem Restoration’ – 25 September 2018

The second MERCES webinar took place between 15:00-16:00 ECT on 25 September 2018. The title of the webinar was “Private Finance in Marine Ecosystem Restoration” ( 

The webinar was hosted by GRID-Arendal and the Marine Ecosystems Services Partnership using ZOOM. The webinar was organised by Eva Ramirez-Llodra (NIVA) and moderated by David Billett (Deep Seas Environmental Solutions Ltd), co-leaders of MERCES Work Package on “Putting Industry at the Heart of the Marine Ecosystem restoration Agenda”.

The webinar started with a short introduction by David Billett to the MERCES project and the aims of the MERCES Business Club, including how the webinar series was intended to bring together businesses, policy makers, decision takers and scientists with an interest in marine ecosystem restoration. 

The core of the webinar included two talks of 15 minutes each, followed by a discussion with the audience.  The talks and speakers were:

“Identifying private financing mechanisms for marine ecosystem restoration” by Dr Rolf Groeneveld, Wageningen University, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources Group, and “Private financing potentials for marine ecosystem restoration: a kelp-urchin case in Northern Norway” by Dr Wenting Chen, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).  Both speakers are members of the MERCES project.

Dr Groeneveld noted that, traditionally, governments have been the dominant source of finance of ecosystem restoration, including marine ecosystems. Recent developments, however, have seen the growth of private sources of finance for restoration and conservation of biodiversity. In the webinar,  Dr Groeneveld detailed the major sources of such private finance, the institutional and biophysical obstacles to such finance, and the mechanisms that have been developed to overcome these obstacles.

Dr Chen provided details of a specific case study where private finance had played an important part in restoring kelp forests on the coast of Norway.  Kelp barrens caused by sea urchin grazing have dominated the Northern coast of Norway in the last forty years. There have been various initiatives from private industry to make commercial use of sea urchins while at the same time restoring kelp forest in the region. In the webinar, Dr Chen discussed private financing potentials for kelp-forest restoration in Northern Norway and the experience NIVA had in collaborating with industry.

The webinar was attended by 70 participants, 63 on ZOOM and 7 on a concurrent YouTube screening.  An additional 31 people registered but were unable to attend on the day. These individuals will be followed up with information on how to view the archived webinar. European participants attended from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK.  A particular effort was made to engage with policy makers and decision takers in all United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) member states. Participants from Tanzania, Japan, Philippines, Nigeria, St Lucia, Kenya, Canada, Madagascar, Costa Rica and Mauritania attended the webinar.  In addition, participants from Fiji, Mexico, Ghana, Timor-Leste, Brazil, USA and Australia registered but were unable to attend. These contacts will be sent links to the two archived MERCES webinars and will be asked about their interest in marine ecosystem restoration and how MERCES partners and Business Club members might be able to help. 

The webinar was attended by 26 companies, mainly SMEs in environmental consultancy, but also relating to offshore renewable energy, finance, seafood provision and coastal engineering. Seventeen participants worked for Government Departments regulating activities in the coastal zone.  New members signed up for the MERCES Business Club

following the webinar.

The webinar was archived and can be found in the following links:

YouTube link: