Armenia, Georgia and Moldova join Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership

Armenia, Georgia and Moldova can expect a significant boost for their efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce harmful emissions, by becoming full members of the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P). With the accession of the three countries, a pledging conference for the fund – which is expected to raise up to €75 million – will be held next Monday at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, on 21 October 2013, after the regular EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

The establishment of E5P was first proposed in 2009 to improve energy efficiency and environmental protection in the Eastern Partnership region, where energy intensity is up to three times higher than the EU average. While this represents a serious burden on businesses and households in the region, it also offers a huge potential for investments in the reduction of CO2 emissions, a more sustainable environment, enhanced economic competitiveness, and improved energy security and affordability.

A first pledging conference in 2009 raised €90 million from the EU and 11 donor countries, and the E5P was established as a multi-donor fund to pool donor funds as grants, which can then be used to leverage national funds and loans from international financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank Group, Nordic Environment Financing Corporation and the Nordic Investment Bank. The EBRD has been assigned the role as manager of the E5P fund.

The initial focus of E5P was Ukraine, where one-third of the available E5P funds have been allocated. Successful projects include grants to municipal sector projects to modernise district heating systems, upgrade water and wastewater systems and save energy in public buildings. A strong project pipeline has been developed, which can only be implemented with new commitments from the E5P donors. The eligibility of a project for grant support is measured by energy saving indicators, pollution reduction capacity, demonstration effects and potential to promote policy dialogue and regulatory reform.

Following the fund’s successful start in Ukraine, steps were taken towards an expansion of the initiative’s activities. Discussions with the donor community produced positive feedback, and Eastern Partnership countries Armenia, Georgia and Moldova confirmed that they were prepared to become recipient and donor countries of E5P. Other donor countries indicated their readiness to replenish the fund to guarantee the successful expansion of the partnership, and new donor countries are expected to join the partnership.

These steps will be implemented at the conference in Luxembourg on 21 October, which will be attended by senior representatives of E5P countries and donors.

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