Urban and natural environment
Environmental protection is EU policy and hence one of our main action areas. Also, environmental concerns are reflected in all our projects, to conform to our corporate responsibility commitments.
75% of Europeans live in towns and cities, 85% of GDP is created in urban areas, towns account of 80% of energy use and they face special social cohesion and environmental challenges. Helping make towns and cities pleasant and environmentally sustainable places to live and work is one of our key tasks through:
- Urban renewal – improving the quality of life and aiding social cohesion
- Heritage – preserving the social, architectural and historical fabric of towns and cities
- Buildings – renovation and renewal
- Infrastructure – promoting sustainable transport, energy, ICT etc.
- Mobility – helping people move around while cutting noise and air pollution
We encourage a shift away from private transport, by supporting efficient public transport networks in order to:
- Facilitate growth and job creation
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions
- Reduce noise pollution
- Minimise the damage to air quality
- Promote safety
We also strive for cleaner and safer private vehicles by backing research and development in the automotive industry.
Sustainable energy project advice
Many EU towns and regions lack the necessary technical expertise and organisational capacity to implement large energy efficiency and renewables projects. ELENA (“European Local ENergy Assistance”) is there to help. It covers up to 90% of the technical support cost needed to prepare, implement and finance the investment programme. Run by the EIB, it is funded by the European Commission.
A diverse range of projects related to the provision and management of water receive our backing:
- Water supply,
- Wastewater treatment and disposal,
- Coastal erosion,
- Flood control
- Hydropower generation
We offer long term financing and technical advice plus we support research, development and innovation. Most of this activity is in the EU, but we also support international initiatives such as the ACP-EU Water Facility, Horizon 2020 and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation.
We support EU policy to halt the loss of biodiversity by seeking to minimise negative impacts and enhance natural habitats through all our projects. We make prior assessments to better understand biodiversity implications of our actions. We also work with the European Task Force on Banking, Business and Biodiversity and the European Commission's Nature and Biodiversity Unit.
Forests are major carbon stores and so have a role as part of our climate action priority. Forests also help with the adaptation to some of the effects of climate change such as soil erosion and increased flood risk. There are also biodiversity implications.
JESSICA: a programme to magnify the effect of EU Structural Funds for urban projects.
JASPERS: assists new EU Member States achieve grant financing under the Structural and Cohesion Funds
Municipal Finance Facility/ Municipal Infrastructure Facility: helping new Member States and accession countries strengthen municipal credit markets and helping regions bordering old Member States with environmental, social and economic concerns.