A bridge to development
Similarly the European Investment Bank has also approved infrastructure projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after natural disasters struck there.
In Haiti, the European Investment Bank approved a €25 million loan to Haiti in April 2019 to build bridges and rebuild bridges destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. The bridges are needed as evacuation routes during storms—increasingly frequent, due to climate change—as well as providing economic links for people who presently are cut off during rain storms. The bridges will be financed through the European Investment Bank loan and supported by help on the ground and grants from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Investment Facility, a regional blending facility of the European Union.
Across the border in the Dominican Republic, a similar post-disaster reconstruction project will include social housing, waterworks to prevent flooding, and of course rural roads that are more resilient. This will be financed through an EIB loan and a grant from the Caribbean Investment Facility.
Development climate adaptation for future extremes
These experiences help us lay important foundations for development. Our methodology for assessing adaptation investment—developed in coordination with other multilaterals—brings rigour to the planning of infrastructure work that will increase the impact of the investment and make it last longer. As well as helping to repair infrastructure that has been damaged, the European Investment Bank also ensures that the quality of the rehabilitated roads or bridges are of a higher standard and thus better able to withstand future extreme weather events.
This is as important for transport projects that are aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, such as our major investments in the Lucknow and Cairo metros, as it is vital in adaptation projects, such as the loan for roads in Laos.
That also means partnership. We already mentioned the Haiti bridge project that is implemented in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank. The European Investment Bank also joined with the Asian Development Bank to finance the Vientiane Urban Transport project to introduce a bus rapid transit system in the capital of Laos and substantially increase the quality of life in the city. The Bank is also examining other areas of infrastructure cooperation with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, in line with overall EU policies to reduce poverty according to the agenda 2030 and the socio-economic development plan of Laos.
Bespoke urban climate adaptation
Rural roads are not the only aspect of mobility and development in which adaptation is of increasing significance. The city is the nexus of one of the greatest climate challenges facing international institutions. Climate change runs on a parallel track to the massive increase in urban population forecast for the coming decades. By 2030, the UN predicts that 68% of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 55% now. Much of this growth will come in developing countries and is linked to broader demographic trends. Some African and Asian countries are expected to double their populations by 2050, according to the UN, and most of that growth will be in cities.
Urban transport solutions are different from those for interurban mobility. Cities in Asia, the US and the EU require bespoke solutions, because of different density characteristics. (Think of Tokyo and then think of Los Angeles. One size does not fit all.)
We need to keep working on these solutions and to increase the resources we devote to them. That’s why the European Investment Bank should get the financing it needs for its activities outside the EU. It is also why we are planning to set up a subsidiary devoted to development work.
In cooperation with other European institutions, we will build on our current expertise to expand our future impact.
Climate solutions in transport if you’re a…
- Policymaker: consider
- adaptation policies that make our infrastructure more resilient to climate change
- mitigation policies that help to avoid or reduce travel related greenhouse gas emmissions, such as teleworking, good public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure and electric cars
- policies that help develop and scale-up technologies that fit with a decarbonised future.
- Citizens: As a citizen, you cannot adapt the infrastructure, but you can live closer to your work. Consider whether you need to take that long trip. Take public transport, a bike or go by foot and switch to an electric vehicle.
- Financial institutions: Invest in the solutions that help climate adaptation and mitigation.