The EBRD today signed a loan agreement under which it will provide up to EUR 18.2 million as part of a 15-year environmental project to help three provincial cities in Belarus reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assist one of them, Vitebsk, to treat its wastewater before discharging it into a river flowing into the Baltic Sea.
The sovereign loan will be on-lent to the water utilities in Vitebsk, Baranovichi and Slonim for investment through decentralised project implementation units. The loan and associated grant funds will be disbursed directly to the relevant contractors, who will be selected through an international tender.
The EBRD loan is part of a wider international effort to increase investments in the wastewater and water sector outside of the capital, Minsk.
The project, which will cut pollution in the Baltic Sea and allow biogas from wastewater sludge to be harnessed for energy production, is in line with the objectives of the EBRD and the international community to improve living conditions for the people of Belarus and help them live in a cleaner environment.
The total international financing earmarked for this project, including loans, investments and grants, amounts to around EUR 68 million.
Grant funds have been pledged by the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) and the governments of Austria, Finland and Sweden.
Also included in this project but under a separate agreement, the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) is extending a EUR 25 million loan to fund wastewater treatment projects in two additional municipalities, Grodno and Brest while the World Bank will provide EUR 4.5 million.