SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

EBRD, Others Support Sustainable Water Utilities In Kyrgyz Republic

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By Anton Usov

Citizens of Naryn in the Kyrgyz Republic will enjoy improved wastewater services thanks to a joint €6.5 million(US$7.12million) investment by the EBRD, the Government of Switzerland and the European Union (EU) in the municipal water service infrastructure at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of high standards of hygiene and sanitation.

The Naryn financing package will include a 15-year EBRD loan of €2 million, a grant for capital investment and technical assistance of up to €3.5 million from the Government of Switzerland and a €1 million investment grant from the EU.

It will help address the consequences of decades of underinvestment in the municipal water and wastewater systems. The project will support the rehabilitation and extension of the main sewers, the purchase of operational and maintenance equipment and the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Naryn.

This will improve the city wastewater infrastructure resilience to climate change and public health challenges, optimise operating costs of the municipal water utility and increase the amount of citizens with regular access to wastewater services from 10,000 to 39,000 residents by 2024.

It builds on the successfully implemented previous phase of the project financed by a €2 million EBRD loan combined with a €3.6 million Swiss Government grant and mainly aimed at urgent repairs and the extension of the drinking water supply system in Naryn.

In addition, technical assistance of €1 million will be provided by the Government of Switzerland to help the Naryn water company implement the project, improve corporate practices and set up a stakeholder participation programme.

To date, the EBRD has invested €795 million through 191 projects in the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, with a majority of investments supporting private entrepreneurship. The EBRD has invested in 23 water and wastewater improvement projects in the country worth over €181 million, including €71 million loans provided by the Bank and €110 million grants mainly from the European Union and the Government of Switzerland. The EBRD has launched a response and recovery package, which includes a Vital Infrastructure Support Programme recognising the critical role of the maintenance of key infrastructure services.

The Government of Switzerland provides assistance for the development of the Kyrgyz Republic to improve the well-being of the population. Over the last 25 years Switzerland has granted more than CHF 430 million to Kyrgyzstan in the form of technical, financial and humanitarian support. During the period 2014-2020, the EU has supported the Kyrgyz Republic with €174 million in such sectors as education, integrated rural development and rule of law. Additionally, the EU has provided around €90 million grants to support investments, mainly in the water sector.

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