EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, formalising the city’s membership in the programme.
The EBRD President welcomed Europe’s largest metropolis into the Green Cities family. She said: “The EBRD’s Green Cities programme offers a pioneering vision of how we can reimagine and reshape the cities we live in, and build a better and more sustainable future for us all. The EBRD is already financing two metro lines that keep Istanbul on the move, and we are ready to fund more improvements to public transport and other areas of city life.”
She continued: “Istanbul stands to gain enormously from the investment, policy advice and expertise that come with joining this programme. Just as the programme itself will also benefit from welcoming such an historic and truly impressive city.”
Mayor İmamoğlu said: “My biggest promise since becoming the Mayor of Istanbul was a green Istanbul. In two years, we have added more than 4 million square meters of green spaces and created related infrastructure. Istanbul has more metro lines under construction than any other city in the world.”
He added: “We see many areas of future cooperation with the EBRD, from metro construction to renewable energy generation to waste management. Istanbul has an amazing potential.”
As a first step, Istanbul and the EBRD will start developing a Green Cities Action Plan to assess, prioritise and address the city’s main environmental challenges through policy reforms and investments. This will allow for a greener and more sustainable vision for the future of Istanbul and its 16 million inhabitants.
In support of this goal, the EBRD will provide financial support to the construction of a new 14 km metro line connecting the east and west of the city. Developing Istanbul’s underground public transport is key to reducing car traffic, which is clogging the city’s streets and is the major cause of air pollution.
The EBRD and Istanbul will also work together to identify investment opportunities in green infrastructure priority areas such as urban regeneration, solid waste management, water and wastewater, urban roads and lighting, urban transport, public building energy efficiency, renewable energy, and power infrastructure energy efficiency.
Istanbul is the third Turkish city after Izmir and the capital Ankara to join EBRD Green Cities and has become the programme’s 47th member overall. Istanbul is Turkey’s economic, cultural and historic centre. With a population of over 16 million, it is also the most populous city in Europe.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Turkey and to date has invested more than €13 billion in the country through 337 projects, with 96 per cent of these in the private sector. In 2020 the Bank responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by stepping up its financing in the country to €1.7 billion from €1.0 billion in 35 projects in 2019.