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Clean Oceans Initiative reaches two thirds of its 5-year financing target

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and KfW acting on behalf of the German Federal Government have reported significant progress on the Clean Oceans Initiative.

Two new partners Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the Italian National Promotional Institution and Financial Institution for Development Cooperation, and ICO, the Spanish Promotional Bank, have joined as new members of the initiative.

After its second year of operation, the Clean Oceans Initiative has provided EUR 1.3 billion long-term financing for projects that reduce discharge of plastics and other litter to the oceans through improved management of wastewater, storm water and solid waste. The goal of the initiative set by the three founding members is to finance EUR 2 billion in public and private sector projects by 2023.

The vast majority of the 21 projects signed so far under the initiative are located in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Examples include improved sanitation in Ratmalana and Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, solid waste management in Lomé, Togo, stormwater management and flooding in Cotonou, Benin, wastewater treatment in Alexandria, Egypt and in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as green urban investments in the Yangtze River Delta Region in China.

AFD Chief Executive officer Rémy Rioux said:

“While the global impact of plastic on oceans and communities is devastating ocean wildlife and affecting human health, collective actions are required for effectively preventing marine plastic pollution. This is why EIB, KfW and AFD have joined forces in 2018 by launching the EUR 2bn Clean Oceans Initiative. We are very proud to welcome this year two other European partners, CDP of Italy and ICO of Spain to help us overcome this challenge, and further demonstrate the capacity of public development banks (PDBs) to pursue the long-term objectives of protecting the planet and promoting sustainable development – which will be key areas of discussion at the Finance in Common Summit on 12 November  when the 450 PDBs around the world will gather for the first time ever. ”

EIB President Dr Werner Hoyer added:

“In the midst of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 we do not lose sight of global environmental and climate challenges. The Clean Oceans Initiative is now more relevant than ever, with dramatic pollution further aggravated by the widespread use of disposable protective equipment. I’m delighted therefore that we can now welcome ICO and CDP to join the amazing collaboration started two years ago with AFD and KfW. Protecting our oceans is a mission that unites us and that we take very seriously.”

According to KfW CEO Dr Günther Bräunig, the Clean Ocean Initiative is a European response to a global problem and the last two years have provided “impressive proof” of how well it works.

CDP CEO Fabrizio Palermo said:

“We are very pleased to join our European partners in the Clean Oceans Initiative and contribute to its success. This Partnership reaffirms the crucial role that European Institutions and Public Development Banks can play in jointly promoting sustainable development models that safeguard oceans and biodiversity of our planet. Together, we can further contribute to reorient financial flows and crowd in private sector resources to finance innovative solutions that will keep our oceans clean.”

The Clean Oceans Initiative identifies projects that reduce discharge of plastic waste in rivers, seas and on land, with a particular focus on riverine and coastal areas in developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This reflects that a significant amount of plastic waste enters the oceans from ten major river systems located in Africa and Asia, which lack access to regular waste collection and controlled waste disposal systems, as well as adequate wastewater and stormwater management systems.

ICO Chairman José Carlos García de Quevedo said: “Let me congratulate the founding members of the Clean Oceans Initiative, AFD, EIB and KFW, for their excellent work and brilliant results achieved on this second anniversary. As this is a global challenge, we have to gather all forces and combine efforts. This is why ICO, as national promotional bank, is taking part in this initiative. We will provide debt, equity and guarantee to projects and companies that contribute to the Clean Oceans Initiative objectives”

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