April 7, 2023 | The European Investment Bank (EIB) – one of the world’s biggest public lenders for water – attended the UN Water Conference to join the call for more investment in water. Their aim was to tackle global development and climate challenges.
The EIB, owned by the 27 European Union countries, was represented by experts from its water and global directorates. Vice-President in charge of climate action and development, Ambroise Fayolle additionally represented the bank. He spoke at the conference and participated in a number of side events, amongst them “Scaling up Water as Leverage for worldwide urban climate resilience” and the European Commission-chaired “Launch of the Team Europe Initiative on Transboundary Water Management in Africa”.
Investments in Conventional and Innovative Infrastructure
On World Water Day, 22 March, the EIB published its new Water Sector Orientation. The document presents the Bank’s investment priorities covering ways to finance conventional infrastructure as well as innovative approaches, such as circular economy, nature-based solutions, and digitalisation. It highlights the types of investments which maximise the Bank’s impact, especially to achieve its climate and environmental objectives.
Ahead of the conference, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said:
“We need to fundamentally change the way we understand and value water. If we continue to mismanage this precious resource, we risk losing some of the important progress we have made on global development in the last decades. When we invest in water infrastructure, we lay the ground for health, food, gender equality, and even for enhanced peace and security. Water runs through everything we hold dear, not least when it comes to helping those on the frontline of climate change adapt to rising temperatures, drought and flooding.”
Funding Projects Worldwide
On average, the European Investment Bank finances €3 billion in water infrastructure every year. Around 30% of EIB water projects are carried out outside the EU, including in some of the world’s poorest and drought-stricken countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East. Projects financed alongside regional partners connect cities and villages to clean water and sanitation, enable flood resistant infrastructure and encourage communities to recycle their water.
The UN Water Conference, co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands, took place for the first time in half a century. It brought together governments, intergovernmental organisations, international financial institutions, the scientific community, representatives from civil society and other stakeholders. The conference provided a unique opportunity to discuss water security and tackle the world’s many water-issues head-on.
EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through offices across the world.