Leaders around the world have identified that climate change and resource depletion is among the most pressing challenges of climate change. Additionally, the rate of urbanisation remains high, and the concept of green cities is now becoming a vital strategy for building a resilient urban environment. Green cities prioritise environmental conservation, energy efficiency and the well-being of their residents.
At the EBRD Annual Meeting, held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan 16 – 18 May, the topic of green cities was showcased in a panel with high-ranking participants:
Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of the Government of Egypt, presented their EBRD-supported project to finance the design, development, construction and operation and maintenance of the 6th of October Dry Port (“DP6”), the first inland dry port in Egypt in the city of 6th of October, west of Cairo. This project will contribute to a reduction in road congestion, accidents, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by transferring some of the container traffic from road to rail – it’s expected to save over 14 million litres of diesel per year (26.8% savings) and 40,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Almanshkhan Smatlayev, First Deputy Akim, East-Kazastan Region, showcased how they could improve the quality and efficiency of wastewater treatment for the city, thus preventing pollution of the watercourses, improving public health and facilitating the development of energy-efficient wastewater infrastructure.
Also, the hosting city could present its success. Erkinjon Turdimov, Governor of Samarkand Region, proudly showed that by the investment into 100 electric busses and their corresponding charging facilities, the city could not only significantly reduce the carbon emission but also is the proud owner of the most extensive fleet of electric buses in the whole Central Asia.
While donors and governments are very important stakeholders when it comes to designing and implementing green cities, the private sector is just as important. Therefore, private-public partnerships (PPP) are an essential contributor to realise the goals of making a city green. During the panel, it was discussed that specific rules must be applied to implement successful PPPs. First of all, and most important, is the project preparation. The project design must be carefully thought through. Secondly, the risks must be identified and allocated to the ones that can best manage the risk.
In the past, this has mainly been the private sector, but time has shown that it is wiser to really focus on who can handle it best. Here it must be differentiated between how likely a risk is to happen and which impact it will have. The recommendation is that if there is a risk with a high impact but a low chance of happening, it should be held by the public sector. You might argue that the public sector most likely will not be able to control the risk, which is true in many cases. But, the private sector will charge for taking the risk, and why pay a high price for a risk that most likely will not happen? Therefore, the panellist encouraged the public sector to think things through and consider not loading all the risks onto the private sector at all prices. Further, they outlined the importance of setting realistic goals by creating projects that can be delivered instead of creating highly ambitious and hardly reachable goals.
Green cities present a visionary approach to urban development, combining sustainability and resilience to create cities that can face future challenges. By implementing climate change adaptation measures, sustainable infrastructure, circular economic principles and engagement by the community, these cities lay the foundation for a resilient and sustainable future.
By choosing the green finance track within the Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance, you can cherry-pick your most relevant green finance elective to learn how finance can contribute to environmental conservation and energy efficiency and how you can impact making our world greener and more sustainable.