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Cairo becomes 30th participant in fast-growing EBRD Green Cities

By Vanora Bennett

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  • Cairo becomes 30th participant in EBRD Green Cities urban sustainability programme
  • EBRD moves towards goal of signing 100 cities to €1 billion facility
  • Cities account for 70 per cent of energy use and 80 per cent of GHG emissions

The EBRD’s fast-expanding €1 billion urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities, has reached a new milestone by signing the Egyptian capital, Cairo, as its 30th participant. Cities account for 70 per cent of energy use and 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and represent a big opportunity to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. The EBRD Green Cities family is ever growing with the ambition being 100.

All participants in EBRD Green Cities embark on a trigger project to improve their local environment then, with EBRD help, work on a Green City Action Plan (GCAP) to create a tailor-made list of further environmental investments and policy changes most suitable to address their environmental challenges.

Cairo’s planned trigger project supports the city governor General Khaled AbdelAal’s ambitious vision to modernise and transform the Cairo Transport Authority, the largest transport company in Africa, into an energy efficient company. Cairo will invest in new electric buses and introduce an electronic ticketing system. The EBRD will also support the company to develop a low carbon road map.

Cairo is the second Egyptian city to sign, following Alexandria, city number 24 in the programme. Alexandria aims to buy electric buses and rehabilitate its tram line.

Addressing climate change and environmental degradation is urgent. This is particularly true of cities in the EBRD regions, where obsolete urban infrastructure is degrading the quality of life of citizens, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and preventing communities from adapting to climate change.

Progress on the pioneering programme has exceeded expectations. Launched in 2016 with just €250 million of funding, that was expected to last five years, EBRD Green Cities proved so popular that it was replenished within just two years. In October 2018, the EBRD approved a further €700 million of funding to cities with strong needs and strong commitment to improve their environmental performance. This raises the level of ambition. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has also approved €87 million for concessional and technical cooperation funding to cities in nine countries.

Nandita Parshad, EBRD Managing Director of the Sustainable Infrastructure Group, said that the sustainable municipal projects to which participating cities sign up “have a real impact” on improving people’s lives through a better environment: “They reduce CO2 emissions by 372,000 tonnes each year, which is the equivalent of permanently removing 80,000 cars from the road; they provide better and cleaner transport; they clean up drinking water, making it safe and improving citizens’ health; they ensure waste water is properly treated and discharged, and they reduce the cost of heating to the urban population. This has been recognised by other cities, and there are now 30 EBRD Green Cities.”

As well as Cairo, cities working with the EBRD Green Cities programme so far are: Tbilisi, Yerevan, Tirana, Minsk, Sofia, Chisinau, Belgrade, Batumi, Zenica, Gyumri, Banja Luka, Sarajevo canton, Ulaanbaatar, Amman, Lviv, Izmir, Skopje, Pristina, Varna, Craiova, Kiev, Pinsk, Podgorica, Alexandria, Mariupol,  Dushanbe, Bishkek, Balti and Pula.

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