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Water Aid initiative seeks funding raised by partners via blue or green bonds

Low river levels in Shanxi province which has suffered desertification and drought brouyght on by climate change.

Resilient Water Accelerator aims to bring clean water to 50m people by 2030 — and could use the capital markets to help it deliver

International NGO WaterAid is launching a new programme to improve access to clean water in vulnerable communities suffering from droughts, floods and extreme weather as a result of climate change.

The Resilient Water Accelerator aims to help 50m climate-vulnerable people to boost their resilience to climate events and the reliability of their access to clean water.

Along with Water Aid, the African Development Bank, Global Water Partnership, the Sustainable Markets Initiative, the UK government and the World Resources Institute are leading the project.

WaterAid said that, of the $681bn of climate finance, only 2% goes to water-related projects and only 0.1% to meeting basic water and sanitation needs.

Henk Ovink, the Netherlands’ special envoy for water affairs, said countries had pledged a 9% increase in financing for water projects between 2015 and 2019, but that this increase did not materialise.

The Accelerator is in seed funding stage, seeking to raise $1m-$2m by the end of 2022. After that, it will aim to deliver some $20m of funding to support the development of comprehensive, climate-resilient programmes delivering water, sanitation and hygiene in five to six locations, reaching 50m people. Much of this money will come from private sector donors like financial services provider Apex Group.

The aim of these projects will be, at least in part, to develop the localised data required to track the effects of climate change and the impact of the project’s activities, allowing it to generate high quality and investable proposals, which should create the opportunity for public and private lenders to support operations with billions of dollars of investments.

WaterAid is exploring financing solutions from its development bank partners like the African Development Bank, including blended finance which could be financed via a blue or green bond.

“There’s still work to be done to ensure it can be structured appropriately in order to make sure it works for all parties, but it’s something we’re exploring,” said a spokesperson for the NGO.

A Bangladeshi WaterAid advocacy officer said on a COP26 panel: “In 2009, rich countries agreed to put $100bn per year towards funding climate change adaptation. Those targets have not yet been met. In Bangladesh, it is not an academic question. The effects of climate change on water security are already occurring. In coastal regions, salinity is causing problems. Desertification is affecting other regions where streams have dried up.”

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