World Bank Begins Issuing $660M in Sustainable Development Bonds for Water Management

by | Nov 27, 2018

The World Bank, a financial institution that provides loans to countries for capital projects, has raised more than $660 million in Sustainable Development Bonds highlighting the critical role of ocean and water resources. The bonds will be used to fund the protection of water resources in developing countries.

For the bonds, the World Bank focused on two Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6 and SDG 14 (clean water and sanitation, and life below water, respectively).

A range of institutional and retail investors globally have supported the initiative since it was launched in August, the World Bank says. Ten bonds in five currencies have already been issued, and the World Bank will continue to issue bonds under the initiative.

“[G]overnments must catalyze the private sector to develop innovative solutions,” says Arunma Oteh, World Bank Vice President and treasurer. “We are therefore delighted with the diverse range of investors that have purchased our bond series and appreciate the commitment of all stakeholders to new approaches to ensuring better stewardship of our fresh water and ocean resources.”

Current investors include Capitulum Asset Management, Global Evolution, HSBC INKA/Swiss Life, Storebrand, and Sydbank.

The World Bank says it is the biggest multilateral founder for ocean and water projects in developing countries, with $37 billion in water-related investments and an oceans-related portfolio of more than $4 billion

In 2016, a World Bank report found that good water management could lead to a 6% increase in global GDP by 2050, while bad management – or simply business as usual in some places – could reduce GDP by as much as 14% in the Middle East, 12% in the Sahel, and 11% in Central Asia. Poor water policy could even lead to sustained declines in GDP in some places, via losses in agriculture, health, income, and property, the report said.

Without major improvements in water efficiency, global demand could exceed supplies by 40% over the next 15 years, according to the report.

Examples of ocean and water projects from the World Bank include:

  • A project in India has mapped the entire coastline to better manage coastal space and minimize vulnerabilities through shoreline protection and land use plans. So far, 16,500 hectares of mangroves have been planted. Sewage treatment plants for about 1 million people are helping to prevent the flow of more than 80 million liters of untreated sewage into the ocean per day and to protect over 400 km of coastline, the organization says.
  • A coral reef project in Indonesia, where two-thirds of coral reefs are considered threatened by overfishing, has so far benefited 358 village communities by establishing marine protected areas and reducing illegal and destructive fishing. The project aims to increase communities’ income by 15% and improve coral reef health in at least 70% of project sites by 2019.
  • In Romania, a pollution control project is reducing the discharge of nutrients into water bodies leading to the Danube River and Black Sea. Over 100 communes have benefited from support under the first phase of the project, 11 sewerage systems and communal wastewater treatment plants were built, seedlings were planted on 182 hectares in 57 communities, and the first pilot plant was built for biogas production from manure. Over the past decade, water quality and ecosystem improvements been observed in the Danube River/Black Sea basin due to this project.

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