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World Bank Launches Bond Series to Raise Awareness About Water and Ocean Resources

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Eric Volto / Getty Images

The World Bank launched the first in a series of bonds designed to raise awareness about the importance of ocean and water resources, the organization announced last Thursday.

The series was announced in conjunction with World Water Week, which took place in Stockholm from August 26 to 31 and gathered experts, business people and decision makers from around the world to discuss solutions to water issues.


"Seventy percent of the planet's surface is water, yet degraded ocean resources and lack of access to safe water negatively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Through this bond series we will remind investors and the markets that we must protect our water and marine resources today for the generations of tomorrow," World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva said when the bond series was announced August 29.

The series intends to raise $3 billion and allow investors to demonstrate their support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This series will focus specifically on goal 6: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all" and goal 14: "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."

The first bond was priced at one billion Swedish Krona (SEK) and will last seven years.

"We are very pleased to price this SEK-denominated Sustainable Development Bond, so soon after we announced our new initiative. The demand for this bond shows that investors are aware of the critical need to protect water, our most precious resource, and to ensure a sustainable future," World Bank Vice President and Treasurer Arunma Oteh said in the pricing announcement.

Major European investors in the bond include Swedish investors AP1, SEB Företagsobligationsfond, SPP Storebrand and Swedbank Robur Fonder AB.

"The decision of the World Bank to launch an initiative to raise awareness for the health of oceans and urgent need for clean water through their Sustainable Development Bond issues, is very much welcomed by investors. We see increased interest from our investors to understand risks around water management and the need to protect oceans. Engaging with the World Bank and others around this topic is extremely helpful," Head of Climate & Sustainable Finance at SEB Christopher Flensborg said in the World Bank announcement.

The World Bank hopes to use the bonds to channel the support of investors towards two goals: sustainable use of water in order to increase access to safe and reliable water sources and sustainable use of ocean resources and marine life.

The new bond series, and World Water Week, come as the UN has reported that the world is off-track to meeting SDG 6, development media outlet Devex reported.

Eighty-percent of countries do not have enough money to meet the SDG targets and the World Water Week consensus was that more private money is essential to help them do so, according to Devex.

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