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Municipal and environmental infrastructure strategy

This Strategy, approved by the Board of Directors on 26 June 2012, sets out the past performance of MEI under the 2004 policy, identifies the sector challenges together with a sector vision in the ever changing economic landscape, discusses the new geographical areas of engagement including the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) countries, and details operating priorities and instruments for funding.

Sector challenges

Municipal infrastructure is probably one of the areas where challenges are the most daunting in the EBRD countries of operations. In 2010, an estimated 26 million people in the EBRD region did not have access to an improved water supply – and six countries had more than one million people without such provision. Eighty-six million people only had access to substandard or shared sanitation. More than 150 million people in the EBRD countries of operations depend on district heating and yet about 10,000 towns and cities in Russia alone and 2,000 in Central Europe await rehabilitation of their systems.

The scale of ‘needs’ across the MEI sector is large and there are many investment opportunities – but at the same time, the challenges in structuring and delivering ‘bankable’ and sustainable projects are large too.

The goal is therefore to achieve the sustainable delivery of essential services throughout the EBRD region. To reach this goal, the MEI sector faces three over-arching challenges, outlined in Section 3:

  • providing essential services in areas with very different demographics;
  • fostering transition to a market economy in order to create sustainable organisations, infrastructure and services; and
  • making more efficient use of energy and water and adapting to climate change.

The EBRD will seek to operate where the challenges intersect, and will apply transitional, market-based solutions to deliver essential services and generate environmental and social benefits. Where not all three challenges are present, the Bank will proceed as long as sufficient transition impact is achieved.

Sector vision

By nature, the MEI sector is focused on people in their capacities as citizens, economic agents and infrastructure users. The Bank’s vision is therefore to respond to sector goals and challenges with stakeholders in mind.

First, the Bank will seek to promote decision-making at local level so as to deliver quality, sustainable, market-based and demand-driven infrastructure; this will be responsive to people as citizens.

Second, the Bank will support projects that focus on effective, affordable, customer-oriented services tied to regulatory and tariff reforms, restructuring and market-focused investment; this will assist people as economic agents.

Third, the Bank will place environmental, health and safety, social and low-carbon imperatives at the core of operations; this will contribute to address concerns of infrastructure users.

The Bank aspires to long-term sustainability for its investments through the application of market-based approaches and instruments. This means creating sustainable urban infrastructure and services, attaining environmental and social sustainability, achieving financial and budgetary sustainability and gradually transitioning towards an energy efficient, low carbon economy.

Full strategy (585KB - PDF)

Report on the invitation to the public to comment (46KB - PDF)

Last updated 4 July 2012


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