Washington DC, September 30, 2020 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$200 million project to support Egypt’s initiatives to reduce air and climate pollution from critical sectors and to increase resilience to air pollution in Greater Cairo. The project will focus on reducing vehicle emissions, improving the management of solid waste, and strengthening the air and climate decision-making system.
Greater Cairo’s air quality has recently seen an improvement; however, ambient air pollution remains the city’s most significant environmental health issue—one that weighs heavily on residents’ quality of life and on the economy. Recent studies have estimated the annual economic cost of air pollution on health in the Greater Cairo area alone at about 1.4% of Egypt’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The six-year Greater Cairo Air Pollution Management and Climate Change Project aims to support Egypt’s efforts to reduce both air pollution and climate pollutant emissions in line with the country’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030. The project will contribute toward Egypt’s key environmental goal of halving Particulate Matter pollution and toward developing and implementing a strong, economically feasible climate impact mitigation program that would meet Egypt’s 2030 targets for reduced emissions.
“This project supports our Green Recovery Plan to mitigate and adapt simultaneously, promoting new methods and technologies that help reduce air pollution and curb climate change,” said Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation. “This way, we are prioritizing integrated climate solutions that strengthen resilience, protect the health of Egyptians and promote an economically productive society.”
“The hazards of air pollution and climate change are endless and can span decades,” said Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment. “Through this partnership with the World Bank, we aim to give our children and youth a healthier future, where they can prosper, grow, and fulfill their potential.”
The new air pollution reduction and climate change project aims to: i) modernize Egypt’s Air Quality Management System and strengthen the ability of Greater Cairo’s population to cope with high pollution events, including events caused or exacerbated by emissions and climate extremes; ii) support solid waste management in Greater Cairo, including plans for the construction of an integrated waste management facility at the 10th of Ramadan City, the closure and rehabilitation of the Abou-Zaabal dumpsite, and strengthening the regulatory framework for waste management; iii) contribute to vehicle emissions’ reduction by supporting the piloting of electric buses in the public sector and related infrastructure, including charging stations, and assessing the technical and financial feasibility of scaling this up; and, iv) to implement activities aimed at behavioral change by communities and service providers and ensure citizen engagement in project design and implementation.
“Egypt is undertaking steps to accelerate the transition towards a more green, sustainable, resilient and inclusive development model,” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti. ‘’This operation is an integral part of our work to improve the quality of life for Egyptians, including the most vulnerable groups of society, enabling them to benefit from a whole array of development projects, while staying healthy and productive.’’