Saving our ocean to protect our future: the EIB at the UN Ocean Conference
4 July 2022
From 25 Juneto 1 of July, the European Investment Bank attended the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal. The conference aimed to trigger global action and address the dangers threatening the oceans, from acidification and pollution to overfishing and biodiversity loss.
The EIB delegation, led by Vice-President Mourinho Félix, joined Heads of Governments and States, leaders from the private sector, the scientific community as well as other partners to explore concrete pathways that can ensure the protection and conservation of the ocean and its resources.
Over the weekend preceding the main conference in Lisbon, EIB Vice-President Mourinho spoke in Matosinhos during a side event dedicated to “Unlocking financial flows for adapting coastal cities to climate change and building resilience”. He stressed EIB’s commitment, through its Blue Sustainable Ocean Strategy, to protect seacoasts against erosion and floods, to preserve coastal ecosystems and improve water quality.
Vice-President Mourinho also gave the closing keynote speech in the “The new plastic economy global commitment” panel of the “From Brest to Lisbon” side event on Sunday 26 June. He outlined EIB’s role in the creation of the Clean Ocean Initiative, and recalled the success of the initiative, which doubled its target from 2 to 4 billion euros until 2025 at the One Ocean Conference in Brest in February this year.
On the 28 of June, Mr Mourinho participated in the high-level interactive dialogue “Promoting and strengthening sustainable ocean-based economies, in particular for Small Islands Developing States and Least Developed Countries”. “At the EIB and through EIB Global, we stand ready to extend our financing to up to 100% of investment cost, for projects aimed at adapting to climate change and building greater resilience in Small Islands Developing States and Least Developed Countries,” Vice-President Mourinho told the audience.
The same day, in the Sustainable Blue Economy Investment Forum in Cascais in Estoril, Vice-President Mourinho delivered the closing remarks. “The Blue Economy funding requirements need to be included at the top of the climate agenda, but both the public and private sector need to work together to unlock the immense potential of this economy,” he stressed.
To conclude the week, the Vice-President participated in “Business4Ocean - The call on SDG14”, a side event organised by EDP and the NGO BCSD Portugal to discuss the main challenges of a further deployment of a sustainable blue economy with representatives of the business sector, public sector and NGOs. Vice-President Mourinho underlined the role of the EIB to support disruptive innovation and the importance of having clear guiding and transparent standards that will support the development of financial market solutions to support the Blue Economy.
On the margins of the event, Mr Mourinho represented the EIB in a ceremony that celebrated the Bank’s support to the construction of Les Éoliennes Flottantes du Golf du Lion (EFGL) – a floating wind farm off the coast of Leucate, in the south of France, led by its two co-shareholders: Ocean Winds (a joint venture between EDP Renewables and Engie), with Miguel Stilwell d'Andrad (CEO EDP / EDPR), José Pinheiro (Country Manager Souther Europe of Ocean Winds) and Grzegorz Gorski (COO of Ocean Winds).
The EIB has become the leading supporter of floating offshore wind. All started in 2018, when the Bank financed the first-of-a-kind Windfloat project in Portugal, an impressive feat of engineering that started as a joint venture of EDPR, Repsol, Engie and Principle Power. The project received €60 million funding from the European Investment Bank and is supported by the European Commission through the Energy Demonstration Projects facility, a thematic investment programme under InnovFin. In June 2022, the EIB announced the conclusion of three financing agreements, for three floating offshore wind farms in France, including Les Éoliennes Flottantes du Golf du Lion (EFGL).
A delegation also represented the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in a number of panels and events dedicated to:
“Public-private cooperation to foster sustainable ocean management globally”
“Partnerships for innovative financial instruments to support marine protected areas, coastal communities, and elimination of plastic pollution”
“Unlocking financial flows for coastal cities adaptation to climate change and building resilience”
“Thematic Debt: Accelerating the Blue Economy in SIDS”
“1000 Ocean Startups: Innovation and Entrepreneurship”
Commenting on the first UN Oceans Conference in Portugal, Head of the EIB’s office in Lisbon, Miguel Morgado said: “We are pleased to be a host country for the floating windfarm in the north of the country and to be financing start-ups here under EIF’s Portugal Blue programme. The UN Oceans Conference brought together key stakeholders in the area who were able to find out more about our blue economy investments and to bring new leads for future financing,” he added.
During the UN Ocean conference, the EIB announced new financing for blue economy projects across the globe.
New Hot Spots Pollution project with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As part of the $4 million Hot Spots Pollution project, the initiative aims to support preparation of priority investment projects to reduce pollution in the marine and coastal environments of the three Southern Mediterranean countries, namely Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. The agreement was signed by VP Mourinho Félix and Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.
€150 million programme loan for the Caribbean to improve climate resilience and contribute to healthy oceans through new investments in security of water supply, wastewater treatment, solid waste and storm-water management across the region.
Today at the Our Ocean conference in Oslo, the EIB launched the Blue Sustainable Ocean Strategy (Blue SOS) to improve the health of oceans, build stronger and more resilient coastal environments and enhance the sustainability of ocean-related activities.
At the United Nations Oceans Conference the EIB today confirmed support for investment around the world that strengthens conservation and enables more sustainable use of oceans and marine resources. This includes responding to the needs of Small Island Developing States to reduce vulnerability to a changing climate and supporting schemes that reduce pollution and contribute to development of a sustainable blue economy.