The FINANCIAL — Some 100,000 people living in two districts of the Minsk oblast in Belarus will benefit from a €2 million grant, for the improvement of solid waste management, approved on December 7 by the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P), a multi-donor fund managed by the EBRD.
The grant will co-finance an EBRD loan of up to €5 million to the districts of Puhovichi and Cherven, to build the country’s first regional, more environmentally friendly landfill which will be operated by a new company.
The facility will be built in accordance with the relevant EU directives, for the benefit of the local population and the environment. The waste-management company will also improve the waste-collection system and increase the recycling of materials. The new landfill is expected to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by an equivalent of 6,764 tonnes of CO2 annually and save a total of €3 million in operating costs, according to the EBRD.
The energy intensity of Belarus is nearly twice as high as the EU average and targeted energy efficiency investments are essential. To help the country save energy, the E5P project pipeline in Belarus includes the modernisation of district heating, improving energy efficiency in public and residential buildings, as well as investments in renewables, street lighting, solid-waste management and water or wastewater treatment.
At the E5P assembly meeting at EBRD Headquarters in London today, several international donors committed to supporting Belarus, while the country also contributed €1 million to the fund. The European Union – the E5P’s largest donor –- and Germany pledged grants of €10 million and €1 million, respectively, Estonia pledged €60,000, Poland pledged €150,000, while Sweden signed a €1 million grant contribution to fund E5P projects in the country and pledged an additional €4 million.
Alistair Clark, EBRD Managing Director, Environment and Sustainability, said: “We are delighted with the approval of this first contribution of the E5P to green EBRD investment in the municipal sector of Belarus. It marks an important step towards pursuing more energy efficiency in public services. We are pleased that ultimately it will be people and the environment that will benefit from this project.”
Gennadiy Trubilo, Deputy Minister of Communal Services and Housing of Belarus, added: “We would like to express our gratitude to the E5P assembly and reiterate our country’s commitment to develop and improve solid waste management services and reduce the negative effects this sector has on the environment. We plan to close old dump sites, build new landfills with better environmental protection, increase recycling of materials and reduce amounts of waste disposed at landfills”.
The EBRD, in line with its Green Economy Transition approach, is committed to further assisting the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy. To date, the Bank has invested €1.96 billion in 95 projects across Belarus.