EBRD’s new Transport Strategy promotes sustainable and well-connected systems

By Vanora Bennett

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  • EBRD Board of Directors passes new Transport Sector Strategy 2019-24
  • Need in slow-changing sector is to close infrastructure gap with more green economy, climate resilience and private sector involvement
  • Aim is to boost transport as a catalyst for economic and inclusive growth

New Transport Sector Strategy

The EBRD’s Board of Directors has approved a new Transport Sector Strategy for the five years 2019-2024, refining the previous period’s Strategy to work in a more focussed way on emerging global green economy and climate targets in a sector that, while slow to change, is a catalyst for economic and inclusive growth.

Since the previous strategy came into force, global policymakers have made headway with climate action targets arising from the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep greenhouse gas emissions low enough to achieve temperature rises of no more than 2C and if possible a more ambitious 1.5C. The new Strategy both takes into account global policy developments and formalises the EBRD’s interest in emerging technical trends from alternative fuels to automation and digital solutions.

The Transport Sector Strategy covers the Bank’s operations in the transport sector across all transport modes, with the aim of supporting the development of sustainable and well-connected transport systems responsive to the needs of people, industry and trade. It interfaces with the Bank’s other policies, guidelines, Country Strategies and other Sector Strategies.

The Strategy sees transport demand as strongly linked to GDP and population growth and thus the demand for individual mobility and trade in the Bank’s region will continue to expand. However, the ability of economies across the region to satisfy this demand in a sustainable manner is constrained by a widening investment gap, weak governance, inefficiency, poor connectivity, low inter-modality, inadequately maintained assets, limited private sector participation and low take-up of new technology and innovative solutions. 

Transportation across the EBRD’s region needs to be greener and more resilient to the impacts of climate change, to ensure that the economies follow a sustainable path and are not locked into inefficient, vulnerable and carbon intensive transport infrastructure and services. Transport systems of the future will need to be environmentally and socially sustainable, and provide increased capacity to all in a safe, affordable, inclusive and accessible way.

Closing the infrastructure gap is both a challenge and an opportunity to achieve these targets. The role of the private sector is key to achieving this.

The Strategy acknowledges that the sustainability of the transport sector can be enhanced by increased private sector participation, including public-private partnerships and through the mobilisation of diversified sources of finance and blended structures. 

This will help to reduce the region’s infrastructure gap, while delivering efficiency and innovation. The Strategy emphasises the importance of the EBRD’s role in encouraging greater involvement of the private sector in the transport sector through policy dialogue, sector reform and capacity building within the public sector.

Sustainable transport systems need to address the challenge of embodying market principles while balancing economic, environmental and social needs, and achieving this balance is at the core of the Transport Sector Strategy. 

By responding to this challenge, the Transport Sector Strategy will contribute towards multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals including those relating to economic growth, the environment, climate change, gender, and equality. Given the different challenges faced by the Bank’s countries of operations, the operational responses will vary by region and will be tailored to address the transition gaps reflected in the Country Strategies of the Bank.

The Bank’s ability to engage with both the public and private sectors in the transport sector is a key strength, allowing for complementarity with other financiers. The Strategy therefore emphasises the need for cooperation with other International Financial Institutions and donors, as well as commercial banks and institutional investors, which the Bank is committed to working with.

New Transport Sector Strategy 

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