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EBRD to help Uzbekistan's Samarkand go “green”

Samarkand, one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia, which prospered from its location on the Silk Road trade route between China and the Mediterranean, is stepping up its efforts to get on board with modern-day trends of trade—it has become the first city in Uzbekistan to boost its urban sustainability planning by joining the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD's) €3bn flagship programme, EBRD Green Cities.

The cooperation is to contribute to Uzbekistan’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.

Samarkand has become the programme’s 48th member overall. Its membership was formalised through the signing of a memorandum of understanding on June 7 during a visit paid by EBRD first vice-president Jurgen Rigterink to Uzbekistan.

“On joining the sustainability programme, cities undertake a trigger project with EBRD finance – in Samarkand’s case this is expected to be an investment in electric buses – and also draft a Green City Action Plan (GCAP), setting out further actions to improve the local environment. Samarkand will now embark on developing a tailor-made GCAP to effectively address its environmental challenges”, the development bank said in a statement.

In 2018, Uzbekistan ratified the Paris Agreement and announced its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2030. According to the 2019-2030 Strategy for the Transition of the Republic of Uzbekistan to a Green Economy, by 2030 the share of renewable energy sources will be increased to more than 25% of total electricity generation. Other objectives are doubling the country’s reading on the energy efficiency index, reducing the carbon intensity of achieved GDP and providing access to modern, inexpensive and reliable energy supplies for the entire population and all sectors of the economy.
In October last year, Uzbekistan unveiled renewable energy projects worth over $3.56bn.