Program speakers


Melissa Walsh


Dr. Melissa Walsh is a leading global expert in ocean finance and the blue economy over 23 years experience in coral reef science, management, and conservation finance in Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region. In 2015, Melissa published the seminal paper establishing the field of marine conservation finance, and in 2021, she was co-lead of the Ocean Finance paper for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Prior to joining Minderoo as the new Sustainable Ocean Finance Lead, Dr. Melissa Walsh directed the Ocean Finance Initiative for the Asian Development Bank, to support ADB’s commitment of $5 billion USD by developing innovative finance mechanisms including the Blue Bond Incubator and building global market standards for blue finance. Prior to ADB, Dr. Walsh designed and managed Pacific Ocean Finance Program for the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner and the Forum Fisheries Alliance, connecting communities and countries to ocean finance opportunities. 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. 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).