Grant Programme against Marine Litter

The oceans are the planet’s largest ecosystems and provide a habitat for a vast number of species. They also provide an important source of food and income for many people. However, these important ecosystems are increasingly threatened by pollution. Every year, around 13 million tonnes of plastic waste are washed into the oceans. Marine animals can mistake this waste for food or become trapped in it, often with lethal consequences. Plastic consumed by marine animals can also enter the human food chain. It is estimated that by 2040, the annual plastic input into the oceans will more than double.

Marine litter is a global problem that can only be solved by international cooperation. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and several other international agreements highlight the reduction of marine litter as an important contribution for the protection of the marine ecosystems. The German government also placed this topic right at the top of its political agenda during its G7 and G20 presidencies. 

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer (BMUV) is supporting the engagement of the German government with its Grant Programme against Marine Litter ‘Marine Debris Framework – Regional hubs around the globe’ (Marine: DeFRAG). The main goal of the Grant Programme is to prevent plastic waste at the source. For a long-term, sustainable prevention of marine litter approaches that reduce the generation of plastic waste are particularly important. At the same time, measures that establish and improve functioning waste management and recycling systems in the short term are also needed.  

The Grant Programme focuses on less economically developed countries and emerging markets. In addition to regions from which rivers transport plastic from the interior of a country into the oceans, focus lies on coastal regions and island nations. Furthermore, in order to achieve an effective, global reduction of marine litter projects can also be funded in regions where comparatively few activities to prevent marine litter have been carried out yet.  

The Grant Programme funds projects that support technological cooperation and investment, the implementation of policies and strategies, as well as political consulting and capacity building.

Who is eligible for funding?

Application for funding can be submitted by German federal implementing and non-governmental organisations, companies, universities and research institutions, as well as German subsidiaries of international and multilateral organisations and institutions, which are registered in Germany. They must have a demonstrated expertise in implementing projects in less economically developed countries and emerging markets, as well as in the areas of product development, supply chain management, circular economy and/or waste management. Individuals are not eligible for funding, nor are governments entitled to receive direct funding.

ZUG gGmbH is the responsible project sponsor. The next funding window will open in autumn 2022. From then on, applications can be submitted to the ZUG.