EBRD kicks off Green Cities work in Sofia

By Svitlana Pyrkalo and Olga Rosca

EBRD kicks off Green Cities work in Sofia

  • Bulgaria is beginning work under the EBRD’s Green Cities Framework (GrCF)
  • Sofia will benefit from technical assistance for the preparation of a Green City Action Plan (GCAP)
  • Kick-off meeting in Sofia with municipal authorities and experts to start working on the city’s GCAP which will identify environmental challenges and actions to address them

The EBRD and Bulgaria’s capital Sofia are kicking off work under the Bank’s Green Cities Framework (GrCF) with a one-day workshop where priority steps will be discussed.

The EBRD’s GrCF looks at ways to invest in greener transport, water and waste management, to improve urban environment and people’s lives. It offers a comprehensive business model for green urban development, combining strategic planning with investments and associated technical assistance. As of today, eight projects have been signed under the framework with a total project value of €170 million. Sofia’s Green City Action Plan (GCAP) will be the fifth such roadmap under the framework. 

So far, two Bulgarian cities – Sofia and Varna – have joined the GrCF. Sofia received the invitation to join the GrCF after successful work with the EBRD on acquisition of electric buses for the municipally-owned Sofia Electrical Transport Company, under which the company will procure 30 electric buses and charging equipment over 2018-19. 

With this one-day workshop, Sofia starts working on preparation of its GCAP, which is a comprehensive step-by-step investment programme which will address city’s most environmental challenges. Once developed, the GCAP will articulate Sofia’s sustainable development vision, strategic objectives, actions and investments for a five-year period to address priority environmental issues. Beyond prioritising investments and reforms, the GCAP is also expected to be a good policy paper to help Sofia promote awareness and additional financing for green initiatives within the city.

The GCAP will be developed by PwC, a leading professional services network, and Arup, a built environment firm.

The GrCF is one way that the EBRD is scaling up its green finance as a part of its Green Economy Transition (GET) approach, which was launched just after the Bank committed to an ambitious target at the 2015 Paris Climate Convention: to increase the volume of green financing to 40 per cent of its annual business investment, or roughly €4 billion, by 2020.

Since 2006, the EBRD has invested about €25 billion in almost 1,500 projects that address environmental and climate change challenges in the economies where it invests.