The European Investment Bank has approved a EUR 200 million loan to the Government of Andalusia to finance investments aimed at preserving the region’s important natural heritage, improving its natural resources and mitigating the effects of climate change. The finance agreement was signed this morning in Seville by EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez Arza and the President of the Government of Andalusia, José Antonio Griñán.

The EIB Vice-President stressed that “today’s loan represents an important tool for safeguarding and improving the quality of our forests and our environment through investment in reforestation, forest management and combating forest fires. This investment will also be a source of job creation and help to boost economic activity in Andalusia”. 

The loan will help to finance the Region’s environmental investment programme up to 2014, which will also receive Community financing from the ERDF and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The programme comprises a number of actions throughout the region centred on the following areas:

  • Sustainable management of publicly owned forests, including silviculture measures to prevent forest fires, improve forest management, restore habitats and combat erosion in around 164 000 hectares of public forests or other forested areas.
  • Establishment of new forest plantations on approximately 4 700 hectares and improved management of around 2 million hectares of privately owned forest.
  • Improvement of infrastructure and signage in nature reserves to make them more accessible to the visiting public and restoration of ancient transhumance routes (the “Vías Pecuarias” comprising some 1 000 km of pathways, tracks and forest roads). This will improve access to the forests, facilitating their management and making them more attractive to the public amenity.

This programme will generate major environmental benefits, including the improved health of forest ecosystems, greenhouse gas sequestration, the reduction of soil erosion and the protection of biodiversity. It will also have a positive impact on employment in the region, especially in rural areas.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the EU’s long-term financing institution promoting European objectives. Founded in 1958, it operates in the 27 EU Member States and more than 130 other countries worldwide. Its financing operations are mounted in the framework of well defined EU policies. Financing of investment in human capital formation – e.g. health, education, culture and environmental protection – is one of the key areas of EIB activity.