Toolkit: Marine litter retention, Funding for your project, Other funding options

See also: Motivations for project sponsors | Applying for EU funding

Regional Seas Conventions

While the secretariats for the Regional Sea Conventions do not directly fund projects, they do develop marine litter action plans. Countries that are contracting parties to the conventions may then take actions under these plans or fund projects. These marine litter action plans are a good starting point for more information about marine litter activities in your region. The secretariats for the Regional Sea Conventions might also be a useful point of contact for information about actions and initiatives that could fund marine litter retention projects.

The four European Regional Sea Conventions are:

There is no dedicated project on marine litter at the moment at the Black Sea Commission’s Secretariat. However, the issue of marine litter is receiving increased attention. The Black Sea Commission might participate in global projects on marine litter in the future and attract funding for projects in the area. For information on new developments you can contact: Ms Irina Makarenko ( or

OSPAR adopted a Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter in June 2014, providing a regional contribution to the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive. While the Action Plan aims to enable OSPAR countries to substantially reduce marine litter in 

North-East Atlantic it does not allocate any specific funding. Any such funding for marine litter removal projects would become available only on the specific initiative (and out of the budget) of the Contracting Parties. It might still be very valuable for your project to contact the OSPAR Commission to inquire where activities on the Action Plan stand and whether they have any recommendations on regional funding options: John Mouat ( or

HELCOM does not open calls for proposals. Projects developed in the frame of HELCOM are a result of mandates from Contracting Parties. If you plan a project on marine litter it might still be useful to get in touch with the HELCOM secretariat to check on-going developments and to liaise with people working on marine litter and potentially with other projects that are being developed in the Baltic Sea region. Contact: Marta Ruiz ( or

Contracting parties of the Barcelona Convention agreed on a Marine Litter Regional Action Plan in December 2013. Currently, guidelines on environmentally sound fishing for litter projects are being developed as well as guidance on monitoring marine litter. While no concrete funding opportunities exist for the time being, the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention tries to mobilise resources for fishing for litter projects in the future. For up-to-date information you can contact: Tatjana Hema ( 

Other initiatives

BONUS brings together the research communities of marine, maritime, economical and societal research to address the major challenges faced by the Baltic Sea region. It is a research and development programme to protect the Baltic Sea with €100 million allocated for 2010 to 2017. Despite the focus on science and research, it might be useful to liaise with BONUS for your project in the field of marine litter retention:

In 2003, UNEP’s Regional Seas Coordinating Office and the Global Programme of Action (GPA) embarked on the development of a ‘global initiative on marine litter’. The initiative aimed at the establishment and development of pilot regional activities in regions that are particularly affected. The global initiative also provides a global platform for the establishment of partnerships, co-operation and co-ordination of activities for the control and sustainable management of marine litter. The continuation of the initiative, concrete activities and funding are currently being discussed.


Various philanthropic organisations have funding programmes on oceans, the marine environment or fisheries; few of them chose marine litter as a priority. In general, these foundations have a pro-active way of funding which means they do not deal with unsolicited funding requests but identify the projects themselves. In addition to the general value of networking, it could be useful to liaise with NGOs in your area that are active in the area of marine litter to find out about their funding sources and whether there is room for an additional project.

Based in Sweden, this private foundation provides grants to projects dealing with eutrophication, fishing and environmental awareness-raising in the Baltic Sea. It funds small projects and big programmes, mostly in Sweden but also in other countries. For example, it provided a grant to WWF Poland to carry out a project on derelict fishing gear retrieval. Further information can be found here or by contacting

The Protection Fund for the Archipelago Sea finances concrete water conservation projects in the Archipelago Sea and its catchment area by funds collected from private persons, companies and organisations. You will find further information on their website (comprehensive version only in Finnish and Swedish).

Obviously, this list cannot be exhaustive and funding programmes and priorities change. We therefore recommend exhaustive research based on your project’s objectives and your region. The contacts provided in this section provide first steps to help you getting started.