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World’s major climate financiers launch €2bn euros Clean Oceans initiative

Ahead of the upcoming IMF/World Bank Group meetings, the world’s major climate financiers have launched a €2 billion euros Clean Oceans initiative.

KfW Group on behalf of the German Federal Government, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) have launched the Initiative to support the development and implementation of sustainable projects that will reduce pollution in the world’s oceans over the next five years.

The partnership will provide €2 billion in long-term financing for projects aiming at reducing marine litter, especially plastics, as well as untreated wastewater discharge, with a view to crowding-in private sector investment.

The three partner institutions will combine their expertise and experience to support the development and implementation of viable projects in the sector. The Clean Oceans Initiative will also provide innovative financing structures catering for the needs of private enterprises of varying size, including micro-enterprises, and for research and innovation projects.

The Clean Oceans Initiative is global in nature but will focus particularly on operations in riverine and coastal areas in developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East – 90% of plastic waste enters the oceans through 10 major river systems located in Africa and Asia, where access to regular waste collection and controlled waste disposal is often lacking.

The Clean Oceans Initiative will target the following sectors:

  • Collection, pre-treatment and recycling of waste and particularly plastics collected on land, from rivers and from the sea;
  • Improved waste management in ports and harbours to support the reduction of marine littering from ships and transport on water;
  • Support to plastic prevention measures, market development for recycling plastics and other materials and public awareness building;
  • Support to the implementation of wastewater treatment plants that enable reduction in the discharge of plastics and other pollutants to rivers and oceans.

KfW CEO Dr. Günther Bräunig said:

“For KfW, the comprehensive and consistent focus on sustainability will be one of the major challenges in the years ahead. To this end, we have committed ourselves to an ambitious “Sustainable Finance Roadmap” and plan to embed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the German Federal Government’s sustainability strategy into our sustainability model.”

“Protecting the oceans from pollution is one of the most important tasks requiring a coordinated and targeted international response. We have therefore joined forces with the European Investment Bank and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to launch the Clean Oceans Initiative to pool and expand our respective activities to protect the oceans.”

Describing ocean cleanup as a truly global challenge, EIB President Dr. Werner Hoyer said partnership is key to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Initiative would allow the partners to effect a quantum leap in these efforts.

AFD Chief Executive officer Rémy Rioux added:

“Collaboration is absolutely essential to efficiently address the global challenge of eliminating pollution and other damage sources of our oceans. The activities that are funded through this 2-billion euros initiative are based on collaboration with actors on the ground: local authorities, the private sector, civil society organisations and governments.”

The oceans are one crucial common good for humanity’s future. We all need to come up with new and courageous ways to ensure that the oceans are safe from pollution and irreversible degradation. It is therefore with great pride that AFD contributes to this global effort, with the aim of eliciting new commitments from all.”

Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods and the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at € 2600 billion per year about 5% of global GDP.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste and microplastics, is discharged into the world’s oceans every year, threatening marine ecosystems, people and communities that depend on clean oceans.

If the world continues along this path, it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the oceans by weight.

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