EBRD Water Sector Dissemination pools experience

By Toshiaki Sakatsume

Access to clean and reliable water is essential for economic development, but in many parts of Central Asia, due to years of neglected investment, people lack access to reliable water supply and wastewater services. However, many municipalities, backed by EBRD loans and –support from donors such as the EU Investment Facility for Central Asia, are investing to restore efficient services in the region and bring back safe water. In addition to investments, the EBRD also aims at building sustainable institutional and financial frameworks, often supported by donor-financed technical cooperation programmes.

Sharing valuable past experiences within the Bank is one thing, but it is equally important to share that value with clients). This is why the Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure team organised its first Water Sector Dissemination Seminar on 3 and 4 July 2013 in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.

During the two-day seminar over 80 water sector experts, mayors, deputy mayors, directors and representatives of water companies from Armenia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, and Tajikistan shared their experiences and expertise gained during the implementation of EBRD water projects. We also invited Romanian representatives to share their advanced-stage experience, particularly in regionalisation, with participants from the EBRD’s Early Transition Countries initiative. Participants discussed issues from policy dialogue and sector reform to practical aspects of implementation of projects supported by international institutions. The event provided a forum for discussion and analysis of the factors affecting the success of reform and for looking at successful projects already financed in the region.

Bank experts presented the EBRD’s mandate, credit issues, procurement practices and disbursement steps.

MEI colleagues led by Catarina Bjorlin Hansen shared their experiences of how the EBRD cooperates with municipalities in water and wastewater projects, and the factors affecting the success of such projects.

The seminar also provided a unique opportunity for the key decision makers to listen, share, learn and network, as well as to integrate this experience into projects under preparation, which can enhance the implementation capacity of the existing and future projects. The seminar was warmly supported by members of the Bishkek resident office.

“The seminar was a good opportunity to learn many things. We have worked with EBRD for many years but there are still many things to learn”, said Asylbek Isaev, the Director of the Bishkek Water Company.

The EBRD is investing approximately €152 million, including donor co-financing, to improve water services in 29 cities across Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, potentially affecting 3.6 million people.