Developing nations are reducing their debt by pledging to protect their resources in financial deals that could give them a bigger role in the fight against climate change.
Belize faced an economic meltdown. The pandemic had sent it into its worst ever recession, putting the government on the brink of bankruptcy.
A solution came from unexpected quarters. A local marine biologist offered Prime Minister Johnny Briceño a novel proposal: Her nonprofit would lend the country money to pay its creditors if his government agreed to spend part of the savings this deal would generate to preserve its marine resources.
For Belize, that meant its oceans, endangered mangroves and vulnerable coral reefs.
The resulting deal, known as blue bonds, is an example of a novel approach that has allowed a growing number of developing nations to cut their debt by investing in conservation, giving them a larger role in the fight against climate change.
“It gave us breathing space,” Mr. Briceño said. “Instead of bondholders, we will now be paying to protect our environment.”