Overview of Sector
Official development assistance (ODA) represents a significant source of funding for marine-related projects around the world.
According to the OECD, official development assistance is defined as: “Flows of official financing administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective, and which are concessional in character with a grant element of at least 25 percent. By convention, ODA flows comprise contributions of donor government agencies, at all levels, to developing countries (‘bilateral ODA’) and to multilateral institutions. ODA receipts comprise disbursements by bilateral donors and multilateral institutions.” Review the development aid funding methodology for details on the data sources and methods used in this analysis.
Comparison with Philanthropic Funding
Over the past decade, funding levels for marine conservation from philanthropy and official development assistance have been roughly comparable in size.
Total ocean-related grants from philanthropic and ODA sources, 2010–2019 (USD)
Whereas marine-related grantmaking from the development sector focused primarily on Africa (33 percent) and Asia (25 percent), marine philanthropy allocated the largest proportion of its funding to global initiatives (35 percent) and North America (30 percent) during 2010-2019.
Marine-related grantmaking from philanthropic and ODA sources, 2010-2019 (USD)
Level of Funding
Official development assistance for marine-related grantmaking has followed an overall trend of growth, increasing from USD 552 million in 2010 to USD 991 million in 2019.
Trendline of marine ODA grant funding, 2010-2019 (USD)
Priority Issue Areas
During 2010–2019, marine ODA funding was allocated to four key categories: fisheries (37 percent), infrastructure projects (26 percent), science (21 percent), and conservation (17 percent). Within infrastructure funding, water transport projects—referring to initiatives such as ports, harbors, and waterway improvements—accounted for roughly 90 percent of this funding amount.
Marine ODA Funding by Category 2010-2019 (USD)
Annual marine ODA grant funding by category, 2010-2019 (USD)
For the purpose of this report, infrastructure-related funding is excluded in order to enable a more in-depth review of fisheries, conservation, and science-related investments, which are considered to have closer alignment with philanthropic funding. Across marine ODA funding flows, most funding is disbursed in the form of a grant or loan. The “other” category includes financial instruments such as export credits, which are used less frequently.
Relevant Marine ODA Funding by Category and Flow Type (USD)
Among ODA grant funding during 2010–2019, the top three areas of funding included water transport (USD 1.6 billion), marine research (USD 1.4 billion), and fishery development (USD 1.3 billion).
Marine ODA Funding by Purpose Code, 2010-2019 (USD)
When all funding flows are considered (i.e., grants, loans, and export credits), the International Development Association, France, and Japan were the top three funders of marine-related ODA funding during 2010-2019. The World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—which lends on commercial terms—provided USD 1 billion to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries in the form of loans, guarantees, and risk management products.
Leading donors of marine ODA funding, 2010-2019 (USD)
When grants alone are considered, the leading funders of marine ODA funding during 2010–2019 were France, Japan, EU institutions, Germany, and the Global Environment Facility.
Leading donors of marine ODA grant funding, 2010-2019 (USD)
At a country level, the main recipients of marine-related grants are primarily located in Africa and Asia, with Morocco and Cambodia receiving the largest share of ODA grants from 2010 to 2019 at USD 228 million and USD 157 million, respectively.
Largest country recipients of marine ODA grants, 2010-2019 (USD)
At the regional level, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa received the largest share of marine-related grants ODA grants from 2010 to 2019. ODA funding in the OECD database is categorized such that if a grant is provided to one country, it is attributed to that country. If a grant is provided to multiple countries, it is attributed to a region or subregion. This method is to avoid double counting. As such, the country and regional charts shown here should be interpreted as a corresponding set, rather than as two divisions of the same data.