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News from 2022-02-14 / KfW Development Bank

Promotional volume doubled to EUR 4 billion for Clean Oceans Initiative

More funds for combating plastic waste in the world’s oceans

plastic bag in the ocean
If current practice does not change, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the seas, measured by weight.

Members of the Clean Oceans Initiative (COI) want to further expand their marine conservation efforts. To do so, they have doubled their target from EUR 2 to 4 billion. This took place at the One Oceans Summit in Brest, with the participation of French President Manuel Macron, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In addition to KfW, the French development agency AFD, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Italy’s Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the Spanish promotional bank ICO are also members of the initiative. In Brest, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was welcomed into the initiative as a new member.

There are already millions of tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans today. And each year, an estimated eight million tonnes are added to that amount. Five huge vortexes of plastic waste have now formed – the largest of which is four times the size of Germany. KfW set up the Clean Oceans Initiative (COI) together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French development agency AFD in October 2018 to counter the flood of plastic. Two years later, the Spanish bank ICO and Italian bank CDP joined the initiative, and now the EBRD has as well.

At the time, the three founding partners set out to mobilise EUR 2 billion by 2023 for projects to reduce plastic waste in the world’s oceans. 80% of the target has already been achieved with EUR 1.6 billion committed in the meantime. Due to the initiative’s success and the urgency of the issue, the now larger group of institutions has decided to now extend the initiative and increase the funding. The new phase will run until 2025.

two turtles under water
As part of the COI, KfW has so far contributed to avoiding plastic waste and wastewater in developing countries and emerging economies to protect the oceans with 16 funding projects and a volume of EUR 500 million.

Some 20 million people benefit

Projects focusing on the management of waste, wastewater and rainwater receive promotion. This last area is important because large quantities of plastic waste are washed into rivers and oceans during heavy rainfall.

The supported projects include wastewater projects in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Egypt and China, waste projects in Togo and Indonesia, and rainwater management projects in India and Benin, for example. KfW has contributed close to one third of the funds with commitments of EUR 500 million. It supports 16 of the current 39 COI projects, such as a wastewater project in Cape Town, for example. Some 20 million people in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe benefit from all the combined COI projects to date.

Plastic waste in the oceans is currently one of the largest global challenges because the oceans are critical for life on the planet. They provide food, medicine, renewable energies and many other resources. They also regulate the climate and are among the largest carbon sinks in the world. The value of maritime goods and services is estimated at USD 2.5 billion per year. Keeping the oceans intact is therefore a major concern of KfW Group and the German Federal Government, on behalf of which KfW is involved in cultivating sustainable use of the world’s marine environments.

SDG 14 – Life below Water | KfW Development Bank

Dossier about plastic waste | KfW Stories

Brochure - CLEAN OCEANS INITIATIVE (eib.org)

AFD Video - The Clean Oceans Initiative - YouTube