Municipal infrastructure is an area where the EBRD faces some of the most daunting challenges in its countries of operations.
From 2012 to 2017, EBRD achieved tangible results in the municipal infrastructure sector: over 100 million people benefitted from improved water, waste, sewage, and heating services and over 2.5 billion people per year are currently using improved urban transport measures financed by the EBRD. Over the period, the EBRD also had tremendous environmental impact: its projects saved more than 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 and 1.4 billion m3 of water were treated or produced annually.
Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure’s goal is to achieve the sustainable delivery of essential services, notably in water and wastewater, public transport, urban roads and lighting, solid waste management, district heating and energy efficiency. The core themes of the Bank’s actions to reach this objective are:
Decentralisation: The EBRD seeks to promote decision-making at a local level to deliver quality, sustainable, market-based and demand-driven infrastructure, responsive to citizens. Decentralisation helps address the challenge of providing essential services in areas with varying demographics.
Commercialisation: The Bank supports projects that focus on effective, affordable, customer-oriented services tied to regulatory and tariff reforms, as well as restructuring and market-focused investments. Commercialisation assists people as economic agents and promotes the EBRD’s core mission of fostering transition.
Green Economy Transition: the Green Economy Transition approach aims to promote activities that reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience in order to adapt to climate change, and create materially positive environmental benefits. With 92% of projects falling under the GET umbrella in 2017, the process emphasises innovation and makes selective use of public resources to maximise positive impact.
Donors are critical to the success of the Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure’s projects across the EBRD countries of operations. Technical cooperation grant funds promote project implementation and institution-building efforts. In addition, the Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure team systematically co-finances projects in certain markets, using investment grants to address affordability constraints by reducing the need for extensive tariff increases, and to attain EU environmental standards more quickly.
Overall, the Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure team aspires to achieve long-term sustainability for investments through the application of market-based approaches and instruments. This means creating sustainable urban infrastructure and services, achieving financial, budgetary, environmental and social sustainability, and gradually transitioning towards energy efficient, low carbon economies.