Contribution Earth Security Initiative (ESI)

The ESI is an independent think tank which aims at catalyzing the global financial and industry sectors to define and leverage global finance innovations that contribute directly to cooperation for sustainable water management and poverty alleviation. This SDC contribution will promote the development of new financial mechanisms that are aligned with sustainable development policy objectives and priorities of developing countries to the benefit of society and natural resources.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Water resources conservation
Water diplomacy and security
01.09.2018 - 31.03.2024
CHF  1’190’000

The depletion and over-abstraction of water is being accelerated by global economic investments by global banks and other private financial and industry actors that do not take sustainable water management into account. This is affecting all water users, including the population around a basin who have limited access to safe water and sanitation or face the risks of losing their access to safe water in the future. All major international water initiatives are calling for a greater involvement of the financial sector in particular on transboundary water, but the finance sector itself is largely disengaged from this challenge.

The water sector desperately needs actors that can bring fresh perspectives to engage global finance and industries with a convincing analysis and practical proposals to integrate sustainable water management into their day-to-day decisions. The ESI is a unique catalyst that is able to translate the policy imperatives and frameworks that are recurrently discussed in global cooperation processes into practical private sector and financial proposals so that companies and banks can move towards an implementation of the Agenda 2030. The ESI promotes good practices and policy changes that contribute directly to key areas of development cooperation in sustainable water management and poverty alleviation.

For example, the ESI has achieved the inclusion of the Blue Peace agenda in the agenda of the London Stock Exchange with leading global financial players in April 2018. It has influenced a global bank to increase its collaboration with civil society on water cooperation issues in Central Asia by aligning the analysis of energy infrastructure investments to the bank’s global portfolio; it has developed and brokered a model for UNESCO International Hydrological Programme to cooperation with global companies on data sharing of transboundary aquifers, and is mobilizing a group of global agri-businesses to incorporate and implement the Committee on Food Security-Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, including the translation of SDG water targets into corporate monitoring metrics.

Objectives SDC’s contribution aims at going one step further to support the ESI to develop and advocate new financial mechanisms through which global banks and industries can contribute more effectively to development cooperation in sustainable water management and poverty alleviation. THE ESI will do this by working closely with the financial sector (establishing a global advisory group), identifying their incentives to contribute to this agenda from a core business perspective; developing proposals for new financial vehicles and/or products and will use the ESI’s data tool – the Earth Security Index - to identify key SDG targets for selected key regions against which companies must measure the impact and effectiveness of solutions for the Agenda 2030. While the focus will be global, specific regions will be selected where regional analysis can provide a further anchor for practical mechanisms to be developed, such as South East Asia, Central Asia or Middle East and Northern Africa. Additional consideration could be given to key interregional dynamics that are of global significance, such as the Belt and Road Initiative.
Medium-term outcomes SDC is involved in the strategic steering through regular bilateral consultation meetings with the ESI where synergies with SDC’s strategic objectives are identified and realized; and by being part of the global advisory group alongside banks, companies and other stakeholders. Due to its unique positioning and influence SDC GPW will also strategically connect the ESI to its existing programmes, focusing on key global water hotspots to catalyze change.
Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’190’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    0
Project phases Phase 99 01.09.2018 - 31.03.2024   (Current phase) Phase 3 01.10.2021 - 31.03.2025   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021   (Completed) Phase 1 01.05.2014 - 30.09.2018   (Completed)