FMO will fund the development of potential wastewater treatment projects in the Irrawaddy and Kafue river basins. Like most countries, Myanmar and Zambia are facing worsening water risks with their rivers and freshwater resources under ever-increasing stress. They urgently need to increase private sector investment in sustainable water projects to improve water security, support economic growth and enhance the health of their river basins.
But they both face a major stumbling block – not a lack of private sector funds but a lack of viable, sustainable bankable water projects for companies and financial institutions to invest in.
Which is why this agreement between FMO, the Dutch development bank, and WWF, the world’s largest independent conservation organization, is so critical. Signed at a ceremony in The Hague, FMO will provide seed funding to WWF to develop bankable wastewater treatment projects in both countries.
In Myanmar, FMO will provide seed funding to promote green technologies for industrial wastewater treatment and identify innovative investment options to improve the treatment of industrial wastewater and reduce the discharge of pollutants in the Irrawaddy river basin – by far the most important river in the country.
While in Zambia, FMO will invest in similar efforts in the Kafue river basin, which provides most of the water for the capital, Lusaka, as well as most of the country’s electricity and sustains the livelihoods of huge numbers of people in rural and urban communities.
Through this innovative partnership, a pipeline of bankable projects will be created that Dutch companies can potentially take forward – projects that will benefit the people and nature in Myanmar and Zambia, and generate solid financial returns on investment.
“Without substantial investment in sustainable freshwater projects, the world’s water crisis will only get worse – increasing water shortages, degrading precious ecosystems, and putting businesses at risk of drying and drowning assets,” said Aaron Vermeulen, WWF Global Lead Finance and Freshwater, who leads the organisation’s Bankable Water Solutions initiative.
“The only way to secure sufficient investment is by leveraging the power of the private sector, which is exactly what FMO and WWF will now be doing in Myanmar and Zambia – developing sustainable bankable projects that benefit the investors and the people and nature in both countries.”