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Green Climate Fund makes €87 million available to EBRD Green Cities

By Vanora Bennett

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The EBRD and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) today signed an agreement releasing € 87 million of GCF funds to support the EBRD’s rapidly growing urban sustainability programme, EBRD Green Cities, as the first tranch of a €228 million facility. 

The GCF is the largest fund in the world to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change, and is placing increasing attention on cities.

This interest is shared by the EBRD, which launched EBRD Green Cities in 2016 to help cities in the EBRD regions identify and address their most pressing climate change and local environmental challenges. More than two dozen cities are now members of EBRD Green Cities, with more than €1 billion in EBRD and donor funding mobilised to support the programme.  

Cities account for 70 per cent of energy use and 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Simultaneously, cities also represent a big opportunity to tackle these issues. Focusing on improving the way cities invest in municipal infrastructure is increasingly seen as the best way to achieve the 2015 Paris Agreement climate change ambition, to keep temperature rises fuelled by greenhouse gas emissions below 2C with the goal to limit warming below 1.5C.

The Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) - signed today at the EBRD’s London Headquarters by Camilla Otto, the EBRD’s Director of Donor Co-Financing, and by Dr German Velasquez, Director of GCF's Mitigation and Adaptation Division - officially mobilises the €87 million of GCF funding approved by the Fund’s Board last October to support EBRD Green Cities.

Under the agreement, nine countries – Albania, Armenia,Georgia, Jordan,Moldova, Mongolia, North Macedonia, Serbia and Tunisia - are eligible to receive support. This support comes through Green City Action Plans – comprehensive urban sustainability plans that target cities’ most pressing challenges through investment and policy actions; grants and concessional funding for investments in sustainable infrastructure; technical support and capacity building; and roadmaps for cities to access green finance.

The GCF support for EBRD Green Cities will focus on promoting climate action in cities through the mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to increasing climate risks, in line with the GCF’s objectives. In other parts of the EBRD Green Cities programme, investments are also targeted towards projects to limit water, air, and soil pollution and solid waste management.

The GCF and EBRD partnership has expanded rapidly since the Accreditation Master Agreement was put into place between the two institutions in May 2017. GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said the signing of this next FAA is particularly important, as the need to accelerate paradigm-shifting climate action in the world’s cities is immense.

“The world is urbanising quickly, with 55 percent of people now living in cities,” he said. “Much of the future growth of cities is expected to occur in developing countries. So we need to ensure these rapidly expanding metropolises are built with climate resilient and low-emission infrastructure.”

Mr Glemarec added the Green Cities Facility project is a sign of how enhanced GCF-EBRD cooperation can create new economies of scale to broaden climate action in many parts of the planet.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “The GCF – EBRD partnership for transformation has gone from strength to strength. To date, GCF has supported six EBRD programmes with US$ 730 million, catalysing more than US$ 3.6 billion in project value. Our partnership covers broad geographies and sustainability aspects, as well as mitigation and adaptation - from sustainable irrigation in Morocco, to renewables in Egypt, to green economy credit lines and green cities across our countries of operations.”

“This is a relationship that delivers with a proven business model. The EBRD and GCF share a focus on Green Economy Transition. They combine investments with technical assistance to support implementation and policy reform, taking a holistic approach encompassing private and public sector, as well as social inclusion and gender balance. The EBRD’s local presence acts as an effective delivery channel for GCF’s strategic mission.”

Nandita Parshad, Managing Director of the EBRD’s Sustainable Infrastructure Group, added: “The EBRD is very proud of the achievements of EBRD Green Cities, but we recognise that we depend upon our partners as well. Without partners like the GCF, we could not improve people’s lives and in turn tackle climate change and pollution.”

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