ADB and EIB MoU signing for Clean and Sustainable Ocean Partnership - Bambang Susantono

Speech | 15 January 2021

Signing message by Bambang Susantono, ADB Vice-President, at the ADB and EIB MoU signing for Clean and Sustainable Ocean Partnership 15 January 2020

VP Thomsen, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen;

I am very happy to represent the Asian Development Bank today for the virtual signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with the European Investment Bank. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a wake-up call; one that reinforces the integral nexus between humans, animals, and nature. With pandemic recovery underway, 2021 will be the year to capitalize on new opportunities for investments that will have a positive impact on nature and the environment. This year also marks the start of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This is also the year when our global community sets targets on reducing biodiversity loss, with the People’s Republic of China hosting the UN Convention on Biodiversity Diversity Conference, or CBD COP 15.

Across Asia and the Pacific, healthy oceans are critical to life. They provide food security and climate resilience for hundreds of millions of people. The region is also crucial for its part in restoring global ocean health. On one hand, it is home to three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs and more than half of its remaining mangroves. On the other, the region is also the major source of plastic pollution, home to eight of the world’s top 10 rivers that act as pollution conduits.   

ADB’s Strategy 2030 emphasizes the need to scale up support for “blue finance.” In 2019, we launched a $5 billion program—the Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies—to boost investment and technical assistance to help protect and restore oceans by 2024. 

The Action Plan focuses on four important elements:

  1. First, it aims to create inclusive livelihoods and business opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; 
  2. Second, it will help protect and restore coastal and marine ecosystems and those involving key rivers; 
  3. Third, it focuses on controlling land-based sources of marine pollution—including plastics, wastewater, and agricultural runoff; and 
  4. Finally, it promotes sustainability of ports and other coastal infrastructure. 

As part of the Action Plan implementation, ADB approved, in 2020, our first independently-verified, non-sovereign blue loan, in line with the Blue Bond Guidelines of the Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility.1  The loan was made to Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, a Thailand-listed global business, which produces the largest amount of 100% recyclable polyethylene terephthalate plastics in the world. ADB’s financial assistance will help reduce the environmental impact of plastic and promote a circular economy by boosting capacity of Indorama’s plastic recycling plants in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. 

Going forward, implementing ADB’s Action Plan calls for strong partnerships. Today’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between ADB and EIB will launch a framework for cooperation on clean and sustainable oceans. We are calling this the Clean and Sustainable Ocean Partnership, or CSOP. It provides an opportunity for the two institutions to work closely on expanding the pipeline of ocean projects in the region and widening their impacts. ADB looks forward to benefiting from EIB’s expertise in key technical areas, as well as pooling resources in emerging areas, such as aquaculture.

Later this year, ADB will be hosting a Healthy Oceans Technology and Innovation Forum to share the latest innovations, technologies, and business solutions. This forum is tentatively scheduled for September and we hope that together with EIB we can build awareness and generate interest in creating better policies and promoting further investments on ocean health. 

These may be just small steps towards a more resilient future in which humanity and oceans can thrive in harmony. But they are critically important steps we can take together. We look forward to the scaled-up partnership with EIB, jointly supporting the Asia and Pacific countries better protect and boost sustainable ocean-based economies.

Thank you.


1The Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF) is led and managed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with support from the Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures (MDDI), Government of Luxembourg. It supports the development of sound, investable blue natural capital projects with clear ecosystem service benefits, based on multiple income streams and appropriate risk-return profiles.