World Bank and Romania sign loan to protect the environment and reduce health risks for rural people

April 14, 2016

30,000 small farmers and 100 communes to benefit from investments  

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2016 — Today in Washington, Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, and Anca Dragu, Romania’s Minister of Public Finance, signed a Euro 48 million loan agreement for additional financing for the Integrated Nutrient Pollution Control Project.   

The project will support Romania’s efforts to reduce the discharge of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) into Romania’s water bodies and meet the European Union Nitrates Directive requirements at national scale. Environmentally-unfriendly agricultural production practices are prevalent in Romania’s rural areas. The discharge of animal waste into groundwater in the vicinity of households, due to lack of adequate storage facilities, pose a general health hazard for the rural population, such as blue baby disease, which can lead to infant death. Since 2007, the World Bank has supported Romania’s battle with nutrient pollution countrywide and has worked to improve agricultural production practices.

“Today’s signing ceremony is a testimony of our strong partnership with Romania in addressing the country’s environmental challenge and supporting sustainable agriculture,” said Cyril Muller, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “The World Bank is pleased to stand beside Romania to provide additional resources to combating soil and groundwater pollution, whilst protecting the health of Romanians living in rural areas and the potential of its agricultural sector.”

The Euro 48 million additional financing will complement the ongoing Euro 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. This is an area where there are no EU grants allocated for Romania. 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.

“Romania continues to have extensive agricultural production on small-size farms, which raises the challenge of how production practices are applied with respect to the environment”, said Anca Dragu, Romanian Minister of Public Finance. “The World Bank project we are signing today will add resources, knowledge and institutional support to promoting best practices in agricultural production and enshrining a new way of doing agriculture. Romania has an important rural population. The Romanian government gives strong importance to sustainable production in rural areas and to the well-being of its rural population.”

Project 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.

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.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Elena Karaban
Tel : +1 (202) 473-9277
In Bucharest
Victor Neagu
Tel : +40 21 201 0388