The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and European Investment Bank (EIB) on Friday formed the Clean and Sustainable Ocean Partnership to support initiatives in Asia and the Pacific to help meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
The partnership will strengthen the capacity of ADB and EIB to support high-impact projects, said a news release from the ADB on Friday.
Both the institutions will finance activities aimed at promoting cleaner oceans through the reduction of land-based plastics and other pollutants discharged into the ocean, as well as projects to improve the sustainability of socioeconomic activities that take place in oceans or use ocean-based resources.
"Healthy oceans are critical to life across Asia and the Pacific, providing food security and climate resilience for hundreds of millions of people," said Bambang Susantono, ADB vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development.
He said, "This memorandum of understanding between ADB and EIB will launch a framework for cooperation on clean and sustainable oceans, helping us to expand our pipeline of ocean projects in the region and widen their impacts."
EIB Vice-President Christian Kettel Thomsen said, "Oceans play a vital role in the world economy and they are also the largest carbon sink on the planet, helping to regulate the global climate. But oceans are under enormous pressure, with implications for billions of people. The economic crisis caused by Covid-19 does not weaken our commitment to address global environmental and climate challenges."
"As the European Union [EU] climate bank, we are very proud to partner with ADB through this new Clean and Sustainable Ocean Partnership to further protect the oceans and preserve and promote the sustainable use of this precious natural resource," he added.
The partnership provides a framework for ADB and EIB to expand inter-institutional cooperation and investments in ocean health and sustainable blue economy.
Principles that will guide ADB's and EIB's cooperation in jointly selected areas include: alignment with the country partnership strategies of both ADB and EIB, support for the achievement of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement by countries in Asia and the Pacific, encouragement of stakeholder participation and mobilisation of third-party finance, environmental and social sustainability, and country ownership of investment policies and programmes.
ADB and EIB will mutually benefit from organisational expertise in key investment areas as well as pool resources in emerging ocean issues and solutions and accelerate growth in the oceans project pipeline and development impact.
The partnership will support projects that reduce marine plastic pollution including integrated solid waste management projects, such as recycling; circular economy principles, such as designing out plastic waste; and promoting clean rivers and waterways, including through improved wastewater management and inclusive sanitation.
The partnership will also focus on: sustainable fisheries management and sustainable seafood supply chains; sustainable management, protection and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems and resources; integrated coastal protection activities; disaster risk preparedness; and green shipping, green ports, and maritime infrastructure, with a focus on increasing safety and environmental performance.
In addition, ADB and EIB will develop joint technical assistance programmes and advisory support to help partners get sustainable blue economy and clean oceans projects off the ground.
Healthy oceans are a key priority of the ADB's Strategy 2030. In 2019, ADB launched a $5 billion Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies, also called the Action Plan, to boost investment and technical assistance to protect and restore oceans in Asia and the Pacific.
The Action Plan focuses on promoting action on ecosystem management, pollution control, and sustainable coastal and marine development, while supporting ADB's developing members to catalyse blue finance for projects through the Oceans Financing Initiative.
EIB is the long-term lending institution of the EU owned by its member states. As the EU's climate bank, EIB is investing in the sustainable blue economy and supporting initiatives aiming at reducing pollution and preserving the oceans.
Under its Blue Sustainable Ocean Strategy, EIB committed to double its lending to sustainable ocean projects to €2.5 billion (around $3 billion) over the period 2019–2023 and expects to mobilise at least €5 billion (around $6 billion) of investments that will contribute to improve the health of the oceans and their resources.
ADB aims to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region.