The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the municipality of Izmir will work on an action plan to improve the urban environment and lives of 4.3 million people living in Turkey’s third-largest city, according to an EBRD press release on Wednesday.
The joint effort is part of the EBRD’s Green Cities, a framework that Izmir joined last year. The fast expanding €1 billion urban sustainability program is helping more than 30 cities become more environmentally friendly in countries where the Bank invests.
The bank said the action plan developed with the EBRD would consist of a comprehensive step-by-step investment program to address the city’s most pressing environmental challenges. It articulates Izmir’s sustainable development vision, strategic objectives, actions and investments for a five-year period to address priority issues.
With this aim, and to discuss the challenges and priorities ahead, the EBRD has organized a one-day workshop - Izmir Green City Action Plan Official Briefing in the Swiss Hotel in Izmir on Wednesday.
“We welcome Izmir’s commitment to building a better and more sustainable future for its residents,' EBRD Deputy Director for Turkey, Sule Kilic, was quoted as saying.
Kilic stressed that through this project, the EBRD would help the city to 'identify, prioritize and address its environmental challenges with infrastructure investments and policy measures that will have real impact on the population of this vibrant and buzzing metropolis.'
The results of a study conducted by infrastructure firm AECOM, and commissioned by the EBRD was published and showed that Izmir’s environmental policies are reducing emissions in the public transport sector, improving the quality of air, water and soil, and protecting and expanding access to green spaces.
The study also revealed the city needs to address climate and disaster risks, including rising temperatures and sea levels, water scarcity, coastal erosion and earthquakes.
The EBRD said the action plan is also expected to serve as policy guidance to help Izmir promote awareness and additional financing for green initiatives within the city.
In Izmir, the Bank has financed infrastructure projects worth a total of €159 million.
-Bank plans to co-finance new metro line
'In addition to the €80 million loan to co-finance the construction of the 7.2- kilometer Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere-Kaymakamlik metro line along the city’s east-west corridor, the EBRD has also provided €23.5 million financing for 85 new vehicles for the Izmir metro system and extended a €33 million loan for three new car ferries, another environmentally-friendly alternative to the city’s busy roads,' the EBRD explained.
Now the Bank is planning to co-finance a 13.3-kilometer metro line between the neighborhoods of Ucyol and Buca in the Izmir province.
The EBRD is a major investor in Turkey. Since 2009, it has invested €11.5 billion in various sectors of the Turkish economy, the majority of which was made in the private sector. More than half of its investments in Turkey promote sustainability and the rational use of energy.
€1 equals 6.44 Turkish liras
By Ebru Sengul