World Bank approves $728m for four environment projects

Ventures to increase resilience against climate change, improve water controls

Shabaz Rana May 27, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has approved $728 million loan for four projects aimed at accelerating climate resilience development in Pakistan to the benefit of its citizens.

The projects will protect the environment and improve quality of life in cities while also serve as engines to growth and sustainable water management through efficient irrigation, robust weather forecasting and improved disaster preparedness, according to a handout issued by the Washington-based lender.

The loans were approved by the bank’s board of directors.

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The four projects funded by the World Bank include the Hydro met and disaster risk management project, Sindh Barrages Improvement project, Punjab Green Development Programme and Punjab Cities Programme.

They plans are expected to provide support for addressing climate vulnerability and variability by strengthening institutions and systems, and investing in in rural and urban infrastructure, according to Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

He said that millions of Pakistanis will benefit from improved irrigation, weather services, and resilience to natural disasters. At the same time, he added, Punjab’s cities will benefit from investments to improve infrastructure and local services while protecting its environment.

“Pakistan is among the most climate-affected countries in the world,” said Patchamuthu.

According to the World Bank handout, the $188 million Hydro met and Disaster Risk Management Services Project will help Pakistan deliver more reliable and timely weather forecasting and disaster risk management services.

Pakistan suffered $18 billion losses between 2005 and 2014 with $10.5 billion from the 2010 floods alone, according to the WB handout. The hydro met project will ensure that economic development is not impaired by climate changes, said the WB country director.

Moreover, another project financed by the international body, the Sindh Barrages Improvement Project, is said to benefit from an additional $140 million to improve the reliability and safety of the Guddu and Sukkur Barrages and strengthen the Sindh Irrigation Department’s ability to operate and manage them.

The handout also read that rehabilitation and modernisation of Sukkur Barrage will provide reliable water supply to 14 canals and reduce floods. The project will also ensure the barrage’s capacity to safely pass floods up to 1.3 million cusecs and this feat will be achieved under oversight of a newly-established Barrage Monitoring Unit.

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The $200 million Punjab Green Development Program will strengthen the province’s environmental management through empowering its departments to provide better environmental services to citizens and the private sector. It will also help modernise laws and regulations and promote investments in cleaner technologies to reduce air and water pollution.

About the fourth project, the WB said that the $200 million Punjab Cities Programme will facilitate the 4.1 million people residing in 16 urban areas by strengthening local governments’ ability to deliver basic infrastructure. The program will also build systems to improve transparency, accountability, and responsiveness of municipal committees and other structures.

“This project will strengthen the local governments and will ensure that better municipal services are delivered,” said Patchamuthu.


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