EBRD and AFD finance Serbia’s regional landfills

By Bojana Vlajcic

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  • EBRD provides €75 million loan to Serbia
  • Construction or extension of seven sanitary landfills and a multi-regional sorting system
  • It will help to reduce negative impacts related to waste production and management

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are supporting Serbia’s efforts to improve its waste management infrastructure with a joint €150 million investment.

The investment, for which the EBRD and AFD are each extending a €75 million sovereign loan to Serbia, will finance the construction or extension of seven regional landfills and a multi-regional primary sorting system. It will also support the infrastructure, which will be built in line with European Union (EU) standards, for waste sorting, waste recycling, and biodegradable waste treatment and recovery.

In the first phase of the project, the new waste systems will serve 29 Serbian municipalities, with a total of over 900,000 residents, covering approximately 13 per cent of the Serbian population. One of the goals of the joint project is to promote household source separation and the circular economy of recyclable waste.

Construction will first start in the Duboko, Kalenić, Nova Varoš and Sombor regions, while three remaining regions will be determined at a later stage of the project’s implementation.

Irena Vujović, Minister of Environmental Protection in the Government of Serbia, said: “Today is an extremely important day for Serbia and for the ministry I lead. I would like to thank our partners from the EBRD and AFD, because based on the signed agreements, we will implement the largest environmental projects in four local governments next year, namely four regional and recycling centres for solid waste management. Close to 30 cities and municipalities will gravitate towards those centres, and they will change the quality of life of their citizens.”

Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, Head of Serbia, said: “We are committed to support Serbia in upgrading its environmental infrastructure. Modernizing waste management systems and increasing recycling rates, in particular, are key to reduce pollution, create opportunities in the circular economy, and move Serbia closer to EU standards. We are pleased to expand our close partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, building on the experience with Belgrade’s landfill and the waste-to-energy project in Vinča, and join forces with ADF on this important project.”

Philippe Orliange, AFD Director for the Balkans, Middle East and Asia, commented: “We are proud of this efficient partnership with the government and the EBRD to scale up investments in green infrastructure. This project will bring concrete outcomes to the citizens of Serbia, in terms of improved waste management services and environmental preservation. We will continue to invest vigorously in the coming months and years in these key issues in Serbia and in the region, through all the financing and technical tools offered by AFD Group.”

Pierre Cochard, Ambassador of France to Serbia, added: “This third loan signed by the AFD in Serbia is part of France’s broader approach to supporting Serbia’s green agenda, in line with its EU perspective.”

The investment will help to reduce negative impacts related to waste production and management. It is expected to lead to a reduction of around 178,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and increase the amount of recycled waste by more than 19,000 tonnes per year.

In addition to providing finance, the EBRD and AFD will support the Ministry of Environmental Protection and regional solid waste companies in preparing regional waste management plans. These plans will define waste management activities in each solid waste region financed by the investment, with objectives to increase waste collection, separation at source and recycling.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia and has invested more than €6.9 billion across 296 projects in the country to date. The Bank is focusing on private-sector development, improving public utility services and the overall transition to a green economy.

AFD, present in the Western Balkans since 2019 through its Belgrade-based Regional Office, has been given a mandate to support countries in the region to meet EU standards and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change towards an inclusive and low-carbon growth trajectory. Since then, more than €530 million has been committed by AFD Group in the region, of which €230 million in Serbia in 2021.

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