The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the EBRD are joining forces to reduce pollution and improve energy efficiency in municipalities across eastern Europe for the benefit of around three million people.
SIDA has pledged €18 million to support EBRD investments in environmental projects in municipalities through a newly-established three year co-financing facility for municipal and environmental infrastructure projects.
Funds from the new facility will be aimed for projects in the water supply, wastewater treatment, solid waste management and municipal district heating sectors in municipalities in the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia.
Following years of under-investment, the municipal infrastructure in these countries remains inefficient and heavily reliant on financing from local government.
The Sida funds, used alongside the EBRD investments, will help municipal utilities in the region to reduce operation costs through improved cost control, healthier tariff systems, and reduced wastage, thus improving their autonomy.
As a result, the municipalities will improve the quality of provided services, bringing them closer to the EU standards, and will become more self-reliant and commercially sound. Up to 6 projects will be implemented through the EBRD-Sida co-financing facility, benefiting three million people in the region.
“Promoting sustainable use of natural resources and protection of the environment is a key purpose of the EBRD projects. This new co-financing facility, a continuation of our successful relationship with Sida, will help municipalities in the region approach EU standards of energy efficiency, while bringing significant benefits to the environment and citizens”, said EBRD President Thomas Mirow.
“Climate and environment is one of three priority themes in the Swedish Government’s general policy for development cooperation. Most of Sweden’s focus countries in eastern Europe are only in the early stages of a process which requires extensive support to introduce environment friendly and efficient technical systems along with institutional reforms. By combining forces with EBRD Sida is able to make interventions on a scale that otherwise would not have been possible,” said Anders Nordström, Director-General of Sida.
Sweden has a long-standing collaboration with the EBRD and is an important contributor to many EBRD projects. The value of the joint Swedish-EBRD investments to date is €4 billion.