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EBRD and Izmir develop plan to improve urban environment and people’s lives

By Olga Rosca

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EBRD provides €80 million loan for new metro line in Turkish city of Izmir

  • Izmir and EBRD to join forces to tackle environmental challenges
  • Bank to help Turkey’s third-largest city develop comprehensive step-by-step investment programme
  • Sustainability at the core of EBRD’s work in Turkey

The EBRD and Izmir are joining forces to work on an action plan that will improve the urban environment and lives of the 4.3 million people who live in Turkey’s third-largest city.

The action plan will be a comprehensive step-by-step investment programme addressing the city’s most pressing environmental challenges. These priorities were discussed today in Izmir during a one-day workshop.

Mayor of Izmir Tunc Soyer said: “We are glad to be part of the EBRD’s Green Cities programme. We have ambitious goals in terms of the environment and investment in public transport, as shown by the Narlıdere and Buca metro projects. The cooperation with the EBRD will support our strategic plans to ensure Izmir’s sustainable growth.”

EBRD Deputy Director for Turkey, Sule Kilic, added: “We welcome Izmir’s commitment to building a better and more sustainable future for its residents. Through this project, the EBRD will help Mayor Soyer and his team to identify, prioritise and address the city’s environmental challenges with infrastructure investments and policy measures that will have real impact on the population of this vibrant and buzzing metropolis.”

According to a study by infrastructure firm AECOM and commissioned by the EBRD, Izmir’s environmental priorities include reducing emissions from public transport, improving the quality of air, water and soil, and protecting and expanding access to green spaces. The city also needs to address climate and disaster risks such as increasing temperatures, water scarcity, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and earthquakes.

The action plan developed with the EBRD will articulate Izmir’s sustainable development vision, strategic objectives, actions and investments for a five-year period to address priority issues. Beyond prioritising investments and reforms, the document is also expected to serve as policy guidance to help Izmir promote awareness and additional financing for green initiatives within the city.

The joint effort is part of EBRD Green Cities, a framework that Izmir joined last year. The fast-expanding €1 billion urban sustainability programme is helping more than 30 cities, in countries where the Bank invests, to become more environmentally friendly. The programme looks at ways of investing in greener transport, water and waste management and more generally seeks to make cities more liveable. It offers a comprehensive business model for green urban development, combining strategic planning with investments and associated technical assistance.

The programme builds on the EBRD’s two decades of experience of investing in municipal and environmental infrastructure. In Izmir, the Bank has financed infrastructure projects worth a total of €159 million.

In addition to the €80 million loan to co-finance the construction of the 7.2 km Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere-Kaymakamlik metro line along the city’s east-west corridor, the EBRD has also provided €23.5 million of financing for 85 new vehicles for the Izmir metro system and extended a €33 million loan for three new car ferries, another environmentally friendly alternative to the city’s busy roads. Now the Bank is planning to co-finance a 13.3 km metro line between the Ucyol and Buca neighbourhoods of Izmir.

The EBRD is a major investor in Turkey. Since 2009 it has invested €11.5 billion in various sectors of the Turkish economy, with almost all investment made in the private sector. More than half of its investment in Turkey promotes sustainability and the rational use of energy.

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