ADB launches USD$5 billion action plan to protect oceans

by Bernadette Carreon | 6 May 2019 | News

Evening canoe fishing. Photo: Francisco Blaha

Nadi- The Asian Development Bank on May 2 launched a USD$5 billion dollar action plan aimed at protecting the ocean, which includes efforts for an inclusive livelihood sustainable business opportunities in the fisheries industry.

The Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies, announced during the annual meeting of its board of governors, expands financing and technical assistance for ocean health and marine economy projects to $5 billion from 2019 to 2024.

The action plan is also aimed at protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems and key rivers; reducing land-based sources of marine pollution, including plastics, wastewater, and agricultural runoff; and improving sustainability in port and coastal infrastructure development.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao highlighted the importance of protecting marine ecosystems.  

“Healthy oceans are essential to our planet and for the millions of people in Asia and the Pacific, especially those who depend on oceans for their food and livelihoods,” Nakao said during the opening session of the board of governors meeting, May 3   

He said the oceans are in danger from increasing water temperatures, untreated wastewater and plastic pollution, and unsustainable fishing practices.

Nakao fears that if no action is taken against the damages in the ocean, by 2050, 90% of “the region’s coral reefs will be dead, and there will be no commercially exploitable wild fish stocks left.”

The action plan will also boost the blue economy, which provides USD 3.3 billion to the national economies of Pacific countries and territories.  

In line with the action plan, the organisation will launch the Oceans Financing Initiatives that will give opportunities for the private sector to invest in projects that will help improve ocean health.

The initiative will provide technical assistance grants and funding from ADB and other donors to reduce the technical and financial risks of projects. This will be done through instruments such as credit risk guarantees and capital market “blue bonds”.