WASHINGTON, March 28, 2016 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a €48 million (US$52.39 million equivalent) additional financing to Romania for the Integrated Nutrient Pollution Control Project, which will support the country’s efforts to reduce the discharge of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) into water bodies and meet the EU Nitrates Directive requirements at national scale.
Since 2007, the World Bank has supported Romania’s battle with nutrient pollution countrywide. Agricultural production in Romania is concentrated in small farms under 5 hectares in size, the majority of which keep animals in the vicinity of the household without adequate collection and storage facilities for animal waste. Such environmentally-unfriendly practices lead to pollution of groundwater and pose a general health hazard for Romania’s rural population, such as blue baby disease, which can lead to infant death.
“Romania is endowed with important agricultural resources. Protecting and capitalizing on these assets is inextricably linked with the sustainable use of land and the application of environmentally-friendly agricultural production practices,” said Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Romania and Hungary. “The World Bank is pleased to continue assisting Romania’s efforts to reduce nutrient pollution and meet relevant EU requirements. This project will help diminish health risks for people, protect water and soil resources, and enshrine an improved way of doing agriculture.”
The €48 million additional financing will complement the original €50 million Bank-supported project and will focus on scaling-up investments and management practices to reduce nutrient pollution from agricultural, livestock and human sources nationwide. Approximately 30,000 small farms will benefit from support in manure collection and composting facilities, manure management, biogas production from animal waste, and/or sewage and wastewater treatment in about 100 communes highly exposed to nitrates pollution.
Moreover, the funds will finance activities that aim to strengthen institutional capacity and coordination within relevant national and local governments and institutions responsible for regulating, implementing, monitoring and reporting on the EU Nitrates and the Water Framework Directives requirements. For example, the National Administration for Romanian Waters (ANAR) will be supported in monitoring and reporting on the quality of surface and groundwater under the above-mentioned directives to national and EU bodies.
Finally, the project will enhance public awareness raising and citizen engagement activities with a focus on disseminating opportunities for project investments available to beneficiaries, and capturing local feedback and implementation experiences to inform broader national efforts to reduce nutrient pollution.
The World Bank has supported Romania to achieve its national priorities since 1973, when the Bank fielded its first economic mission to the country. Since then, the Bank has provided over $12.6 billion in loans, guarantees and grants across a broad spectrum of sectors. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, also has a vibrant program in Romania investing more than US$2.4 billion since the start of operations in Romania.
IFC’s committed portfolio in Romania stands at US$530 million. In 2014, Romania became a contributing member of the International Development Association (IDA), through which the Bank provides concessional financing to its lowest-income borrowers, marking a milestone in Romania’s evolving role as a donor of the World Bank.
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