By Josué Tanaka, Managing Director, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, EBRD
Over the past twelve years, the Global Environmental Facility has provided the Europen Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with large scale grant co-financing to support the Bank’s efforts in responding to the negative impacts of climate change and in supporting climate resilience actions, thus enabling significant investments and technical assistance in energy efficiency and renewables in the context of a strategic partnership. EBRD is proud to be the foremost GEF partner in the area of finance for energy efficiency.
The EBRD values this long-standing partnership with GEF which has helped to develop a deeper understanding of the environmental and climate change challenges and solutions in its region of operations. During these years the EBRD also further strengthened the link between its economic transition mandate and sustainable development, demonstrating how a modern market economy can evolve to be sustainable.
Nowadays we often talk about moving towards new frontiers in climate finance. For years the GEF supported institutions such as ours in doing so, strengthening the mainstreaming of environmental and climate considerations into operations, and developing new financing solutions. The GEF has demonstrated throughout a high level of understanding and responsiveness to the needs of the global climate community, in particular in recipient countries.
For example, in response to COP guidelines, the GEF co-financed the Regional Development Banks’ centres for technology transfers. In the EBRD this translated into a very successful programme called FINTECC which provides grant support for the introduction of advanced climate technologies for mitigation and adaptation in the private sector. Examples include high-performance cogeneration in food processing in Kazakhstan, and energy efficient equipment in a drinks producer in Kyrgyzstan. This GEF programme has also led to significant cooperation among donors, recipient countries, IFIs and UN agencies, generating joint support for technology deployment which is benefitting many countries. For example, the co-operation between the UNCTCN and the EBRD in Bosnia-Herzegovina has led to EBRD now considering finance of the modernisation of the district heating system in Banja Luka, which would lead to considerable environmental improvements.
So what does the future hold for us? We welcome the GEF growing interest in larger regional or thematic programming and look forward to developing instruments to utilise the new non-grant instruments in the private sector. Increased co-operation and deeper linkages with other donors and development agencies and banks will further enhance the impact of GEF funding in the EBRD region of operations.