The United Nations Environment Program and the European Investment Bank join forces to reduce pollution in the marine and coastal environment

Lisbon, June 28, 2022 – The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) today launched Mediterranean Pollution Hotspots Technical Assistance Initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which aims to reduce pollution in the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment.

As part of the USD 4 million Hot Spots Pollution project, the initiative aims to promote adequate and sound management of water, wastewater, solid waste and industrial emissions in the southern Mediterranean region, thereby reducing health risks and improving access to drinking water and sanitation services. .

The initiative was launched on the sidelines of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon by EIB Vice President Ricardo Mourinho Félix and Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division. Both parties agreed to support the 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.

“Untreated wastewater discharges represent a major problem for Mediterranean ecosystems and the health of the population living in the region. Many large coastal cities still do not have a wastewater treatment system, and many existing systems are based on outdated and inefficient technologies,” said Susan Gardner. “This joint GEF-EIB-UNEP project will pool resources to reduce pollution and improve marine ecosystems and the health of people living in the Mediterranean region.

According to the State of Finance for Nature 2021 report, for the world to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets, a total of $8.1 trillion is needed by 2050 The technical assistance initiative is a step towards closing this gap.

The Mediterranean basin is one of the most beloved seas in the world. The region includes a vast set of coastal and marine ecosystems that provide valuable benefits to all of its 250 million coastal inhabitants. But the Mediterranean Sea faces multiple pressures caused by human activities, including chemical contamination, eutrophication, marine litter pollution and overexploitation.

Technical assistance provided under the Mediterranean Hotspots Investment Program (MeHSIP) will aim to help promoters accelerate the preparation of bankable projects in the water and environment sectors that will tackle these pressures.

Ricardo Mourinho Felix, The Vice-President of the European Investment Bank said: “The state of the Mediterranean Sea is crucial for the conservation of biodiversity, the availability of clean water resources and the maintenance of the jobs that depend on them. The EIB is one of the main financiers of the global water sector. I am happy to intensify our long-standing cooperation with UNEP to support the depollution of the Mediterranean. It will contribute to the goals of the Clean Ocean Initiative set up to improve ocean health globally.

The USD 4 million Mediterranean Pollution Hotspots Investment Project is one of the child projects of the MedProgramme funded by the GEF and implemented by the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan – Barcelona Convention.

The launch of the technical assistance initiative marks progress towards achieving the commitments made at the 22nd meeting of the contracting parties (COP 22) to the Barcelona Convention and its protocols on regional measures for the prevention and reduction of pollution from sewage treatment plants.


About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union (EU) owned by its Member States. As the EU’s climate bank, the EIB is committed to supporting €1 trillion of investment in climate action and environmental sustainability over the next decade. Under its Clean and Sustainable Oceans Programme, of which the Clean Oceans Initiative is an important pillar, the EIB is supporting investments that will help improve the health of the oceans and their resources.

More information on EIB activities to preserve the oceans

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility is the largest multilateral fund working to enable developing countries to invest in nature. It supports the implementation of international environmental conventions on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals and desertification. Since 1991, it has provided more than $21.7 billion in grants and blended finance and leveraged an additional $119 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects and programs. Through its small grants program, the GEF has supported more than 26,000 civil society and community initiatives in 135 countries.

About UNEP/MAP and the Barcelona Convention

The Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP/MAP) is a regional cooperation platform created in 1975 as the first regional action plan under the Regional Seas Program from UNEP.

The adoption of the Barcelona Convention in 1976 was one of the first achievements of UNEP/MAP. The UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system constitutes a comprehensive institutional, legal and implementation framework that the Contracting Parties have adopted for concerted action to achieve the vision of a healthy Mediterranean sea and coast that underpins promote sustainable development in the region.

For more information please contact:

United Nations Environment Programme:

Christine Haffner-Sifakis. Project Manager, Africa Portfolio. [email protected]

Samwel Adawo. Communications Attaché. [email protected]

Comments are closed.