The FINANCIAL — The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a new partnership agreement to scale up their support to countries facing situations of emergency caused by epidemics, natural disasters, conflict and other types of fragility. This agreement will enable both institutions to reinforce the resilience of partner countries and contribute to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The immediate focus will be to address setbacks, mainly caused by the COVID-19 crisis, in Eastern and Southern neighborhood, Central Asia and Africa.
In situations of emergency, conducting project procurement can represent a challenge too high to ensure a timely response to populations’ urgent needs. This new agreement will enable the UNDP to carry out the procurement required for the implementation of projects financed by the EIB in such situations. UNDP’s presence in fragile and conflict countries will greatly help EIB financing to reach the most vulnerable and allow both organizations to respond quicker to pressing requests.
During the online signing ceremony, Werner Hoyer, EIB president, and Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, exchanged their views on these challenging times.
EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “A coordinated response is paramount to help the most vulnerable countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis. The EIB, as part of “Team Europe”, has quickly reacted to the health crisis with the aim to build the grounds for a green and sustainable recovery. This Procedural Framework is a fundamental step towards a stronger cooperation with UNDP. It will allow us to leverage our respective strengths to get projects off the ground in situations of emergency and fragility, where time is of the essence to save lives and livelihoods.”
“We are facing an unprecedented crisis. As millions of people lose their jobs, it is estimated that the pandemic will cause the first ever increase in global poverty since 1998,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said. “The health, economic and social impact of COVID-19 can only be addressed by fast, efficient response and targeted funding – all of which require specific technical expertise that EIB and UNDP can offer jointly to our partners.”
UNDP’s partnership with EIB is essential to help countries access and leverage COVID-19 response financing and better prevent future crises. In 2016, the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding enabling them to jointly address global challenges and share knowledge with each other in areas such as migration, climate change and crisis response.
Since then, EIB and UNDP have cooperated on a number of projects, including an Integrated Border Management Project and energy efficient public building refurbishment in Armenia, and the recovery and reconstruction of critical infrastructure, such as schools, clinics and centres which are accommodating internally displaced persons in eastern Ukraine. The two organizations also collaborate in other parts of the Globe. Earlier this year, the EIB and UNDP organized a large survey across Africa to understand better the digital solutions that can help the continent face the COVID-19 crisis and estimated the investment required. The study Africa’s digital solutions to tackle COVID-19 provided more than 100 high-impact digital solutions that can help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Africa. This include a self-diagnostic app available in 15 African countries.