Clean Oceans Initiative invests more than €700m in its first year

The Clean Oceans Initiative, which commits financial bodies to provide long term investment in combating marine pollution, has exceeded targets in its first year.

Participants in the Clean Oceans Initiative, including the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and KfW Group on behalf of the German Federal Government, welcomed the entry into the initiative of the Spanish Promotional Bank (ICO) and reported on the progress of the initiative’s first year. Having set a target of financing €2bn in public and private sector projects aimed at reducing levels of waste and litter in the world’s oceans, the initiative has already resulting in the deployment of €700m in investment: around a third of its five-year goal.

EIB President Dr Werner Hoyer said: “We will not solve the global climate and environment crisis without protecting and cleaning up the world’s oceans. To achieve this, partnership is key. That is why we are working with KfW and AFD, as well as governments, cities and the private sector, to finance projects that support the health of our oceans. We are very pleased with the progress achieved during the first year of the Clean Oceans Initiative and welcome the commitment from the National Promotional Bank of Spain, ICO, to join the initiative. This is a real success story and sends the strong message that European development finance institutions are working effectively together to address global challenges and to strengthen Europe’s leadership on climate action around the world”.

Projects which have so far received support through the Clean Oceans Initiative, which focuses on reducing plastic pollution in oceans and rivers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, include:

  • Improvements to provision of sanitation and clean water in Argentina;
  • Management of stormwater and flooding in Benin;
  • Financing for green urban innovation initiatives in China;
  • Management of solid waste in Togo;
  • Wastewater management in South Africa; and
  • Sanitation improvements in Sri Lanka.

AFD Chief Executive officer Rémy Rioux said: “From Sri Lanka to Togo to Argentina, the Clean Oceans Initiative is proving tremendously effective in raising awareness on marine pollution and the importance of healthy oceans in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal 14. Since it was launched conjointly by EIB, KfW Group, and AFD Group, only one year ago, the initiative has already delivered tangible results, including by reducing anthropic pressures on the ocean. This success shows how impactful and central to development partnerships are, which only further encourages all development stakeholders to raise their ambition and continue to preserve our oceans in common.”

KfW CEO Dr Günther Bräunig said: “The promising progress and the significant contribution to the preservation of the oceans are obvious and show us, that we are on the right track. But we would like to go even further and draw the attention also to the Joint Initiative on Circular Economy (JICE), launched in July by various European partners. It goes beyond recycling and starts already at the beginning of circular value chains within the EU with total financing of €10bn. Hence, COI and JICE may be considered as complementary initiatives with the common target to significantly reduce the threats to the environment and to the oceans caused by excessive waste consumption, in particular plastic waste. The motto is: prevent, reuse, recycle!”

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