On 8 September 2016, the European Investment Bank (EIB) held an international conference in Rabat dedicated to climate action in the region, in partnership with the Moroccan Government and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). EIB Vice-President Roman Escolano hailed “an important and highly symbolic conference in the run-up to COP 22. Climate action promotes growth, economic development and job creation. This is why, as the largest international financer of climate action, the EIB is mobilising resources, skills and expertise to finance concrete projects in Morocco and various other countries. An example of this is the flagship Ouarzazate project, for which the EIB was the leading European financer.” To conclude, he added: “COP 21 solidified the will of the signatory countries to act, while COP 22 must serve as a catalyst for action to ensure sustainable, inclusive and lasting development with the EIB's support.”
Those present at the conference had the opportunity to:
- explore the serious consequences of climate change in the Mediterranean region – particularly erosion, desertification and drought – which has a real impact on agricultural production and food security given that the population is concentrated in coastal urban areas;
- learn more about adapting and mitigating climate change, particularly in terms of financing requirements;
- familiarise themselves with the specific tools for financing climate projects in the Mediterranean region.
The conference featured a wealth of exchanges and strong proposals:
- First, the conviction among public decision-makers, civil society representatives and the private sector that climate action was a public priority and a ticket to sustainable and lasting development.
- The heightened and vital role played by the private sector in climate action, with financing requirements becoming ever greater and more urgent. In line with the climate action strategy adopted in late 2015*, the EIB provides a diverse range of financial and technical tools: loans, microfinance, private equity and technical assistance enabling the creation of economically and financially viable projects.
- The need to be able to finance concrete and diversified projects in the sector of renewable energies – particularly plentiful in the Mediterranean region – but also in the areas of energy efficiency of buildings, water, solid and liquid waste, transport and agriculture. These are projects that may involve small and large-scale industrial programmes, such as research and development initiatives. Dedicated technical assistance programmes for climate issues in the Mediterranean, such as the EIB's CAMENA* envelope, play a vital role here.
Driven by the commitment made at COP 21 to dedicate 35% of its activity to climate action, the EIB has provided EUR 630m for climate action in Morocco since 2011. This includes the flagship Ouarzazate project, which accounts for 33% of the Bank's activity in the country.
2015 was a record year for climate action at the EIB, with total investment of EUR 20.6bn.