The oceans provide countless benefits to the planet and people, such as food, medicines, renewable energy and natural resources. They provide billions of people with an income and a healthy diet. Oceans are also important for the climate. They absorb about 25% of the planet’s carbon dioxide, buffering the impact of global warming.
But oceans are under threats. An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. This pollution threatens estuaries, coral reefs, fish and millions of families that rely on it. Most of the plastics come from waste thrown on the ground or washed into rivers.
At the One Ocean Summit in February 2022, at which the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) became the sixth member of the Clean Oceans Initiative, the initiative announced it would raise its funding target to €4 billion by the end of 2025.
The Clean Oceans Initiative is the largest common initiative dedicated to funding projects aimed at reducing plastic pollution at sea. The initiative was launched in October 2018 by the European Investment Bank together with the French and German development banks — Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) — with the initial objective of financing €2 billion in projects that reduce plastic waste by the end of 2023.
In October 2020, the founding members of the Clean Oceans Initiative welcomed the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), the Italian national promotional institution and financial institution for development cooperation, and the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), the Spanish promotional bank, as new partners to contribute to the protection of oceans and seas under this joint initiative.
For the past three years, the Initiative has been providing €1.6 billion long-term financing for public and private sector projects that reduce discharge of plastics, micro-plastics and other litter to the oceans through improved management of solid waste, wastewater and storm water. These projects will benefit more than 20 million people living in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Examples include improved wastewater treatment in Sri Lanka, China, Egypt and South Africa, solid waste management in Togo and Senegal and stormwater management and flood protection in Benin, Morocco and Ecuador.