Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Georgia and Moldova join Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership
Armenia, Georgia and Moldova have joined the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) in a move to significantly boost their support for energy efficiency and the reduction of harmful emissions. During a pledging conference held on Monday 21 October at the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Luxembourg, the international donor community raised an additional €60 million to enable expansion of the activities of the E5P Fund.
The Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Andras Simor, who represented the Bank at the pledging event, said: “As a fund manager of E5P we are very pleased with the outcome of the conference. The commitments made by the donor community are a huge encouragement to the countries of the partnership to step up their efforts to improve energy efficiency and security. The partnership will be able to draw on the successful experiences we had in Ukraine and we now look forward to working with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova.”
Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy and responsible for EU's policy also towards these partner countries said: “With this funding we are able to support Ukrainian municipalities to provide sustainable and affordable heating to the population and to improve water quality. I am delighted that Armenia, Georgia and Moldova have decided to join the partnership. The European Commission, as the main donor of the fund, is ready to provide up to €30 million for the three countries that are joining the facility, in order to co-finance energy efficiency and environmental projects in municipalities.”
EIB President Werner Hoyer said on the occasion of the conference: “The European Investment Bank stands ready to accompany the Eastern Partnership countries in improving energy efficiency and environmental protection by providing the necessary investments and its technical know-how alongside other international finance institutions active in the region.”
Eastern Partnership countries face a challenging energy environment. Most are highly dependent on expensive imported gas, which places a heavy burden on their economies. On average, they are also three times more energy-intensive than the average EU country. Therefore it is particularly important to develop their potential for energy efficiency, which will contribute to energy security and economic competitiveness. In turn, this will have a positive impact on the environment.
E5P is part of the strategic response to energy issues, allowing municipal authorities to invest in concrete projects that make the most of opportunities for energy savings. As a partnership, E5P also includes a strong commitment to policy dialogue; this allows partners to address policy issues in their efforts to find practical solutions to problems municipalities face when investing in energy efficiency measures.
The Covenant of Mayors, a European Union initiative involving voluntarily commitments by municipalities to reductions in CO2 emissions and energy use, has gained momentum through the Eastern Partnership. Already, more than 78 cities in the E5P region – with a total population of 10 million – are signatories to the covenant, demonstrating their commitment to energy savings.
Most of the cities that have benefited from the E5P Fund in Ukraine are also signatories to the Covenant of Mayors. The fund provides valuable support to these cities, enabling them to achieve sustainable growth.
The establishment of the E5P Fund was first proposed in 2009, under Sweden’s presidency of the European Union, with the aim of improving energy efficiency and environmental protection in the Eastern Partnership region. While the intensiveness of these countries is a serious burden for businesses and households, it also represents huge potential for investment in the reduction of CO2 emissions, sustainable energy use, enhanced energy security and affordability, and greater economic competitiveness.
After the first pledging conference in Stockholm in November 2009 raised €90 million from the EU and donor countries, the E5P was established as a multi-donor fund to promote energy efficiency and environmental investments in the Eastern Partnership countries.
The E5P Fund merges contributions from the EU and donor countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine and the USA, and new donors Armenia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, and Slovak Republic), which are then used to leverage national funds and loans from international financial institutions (IFIs). These IFIs include the EBRD, the EIB, the World Bank Group, the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and the Nordic Investment Bank.
The initial focus of E5P was Ukraine, where, to date, one-third of the available E5P funds have been committed to projects in the municipal sector to modernise district heating systems, upgrade water and wastewater systems and save energy in public buildings. E5P has developed a strong project pipeline for Ukraine, which can only be implemented with new commitments from E5P donors. Project eligibility for grant support is measured in terms of energy saving indicators, capacity to reduce pollution, demonstration effects and potential to promote policy dialogue and regulatory reform.
For more information:
Web site of EBRD: www.ebrd.com
Web site of EIB: www.eib.org
See Commissioner Füle’s speech at the Pledging Conference E5P here.