The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union. We are the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance. Created in 1958, the EIB is now active in over 160 countries around the world, has over 4,000 staff, and has offices across the EU as well as 32 offices outside the EU.
The EIB provides a mix of Financing and Advisory support. Financing is mainly through long-term lending but also equity and guarantees and is focused on investment projects for the public sector, corporates, and financial institutions. Advisory support is mainly for project development, reducing barriers to investment, and building capacity.
EIB’s main areas of activity are climate and environment, cohesion, innovation, SME development, sustainable energy, natural resources, and sustainable communities. All of our investment is in areas of market failure and aims to tackle public policy priorities – for example in 2022 EIB investments supported some 430,000 SMEs and mid-caps, enabled over 570 million additional trips on public transport, and helped nearly 235,000 people to reduce their flood risk. More than half of our lending makes a significant contribution to climate action.
Urban investment makes up around one third of our total investment, and our focus is on integrated, planning led urban development. We provide finance across a city’s investment program – covering water, urban mobility, education, health, social and affordable housing, and circular economy. We also provide multi-sector urban lending as well as financing via intermediaries enabling us to reach small towns and projects.
First, we are managing the Cities Climate Gap Fund together with GIZ, and in partnership with the World Bank. The Gap Fund is one of the largest urban climate project preparation facilities, focusing on pre-feasibility support for urban climate investments in developing countries. The Gap Fund offers technical support in project preparation and capacity building and aims to connect promoters and projects with funding sources for following up on later stages in the preparation and financing of projects.
Second, via JASPERS we are supporting cities in the EU as well as in the Western Balkans in the area of urban climate action. For example, we are collaborating with the European Commission and the Net Zero Cities consortium on the review of Investment Plans under the EU Mission on Smart and Climate Neutral Cities.
Third, we are supporting the EU’s New European Bauhaus initiative by preparing a set of investment guidelines for the EU Joint Research Center and we are applying its principles in practical projects. We believe that both the Cities Mission and the New European Bauhaus could have interesting urban sustainability applications globally and are starting to explore these.
CCFLA members can learn about our activities through our website, through specific websites like the ones listed above for the Gap Fund, through our network of in-country offices, or by contacting me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I learn the most from networking with cities and seeing the amazing solutions they are developing and applying, in the projects which EIB finances, and via the advice we give. City peer exchange, for example via the workshops organized by city networks (e.g. I regularly attend ICLEI’s Daring Cities) as well as events under the EU Urban Agenda partnerships, are great sources. We also organize our own events (e.g. we recently organized an event on Climate Adaptation in Cities) and research into cutting-edge developments that link to our investment and advice (e.g. the role of hydrogen in urban mobility).
The EIB finds the CCFLA is a great network of diverse organizations all aiming to promote and better deploy urban climate finance and advice. We exchange on key topics like financing tools, and the role of financial intermediaries; we share information on the challenges and solutions; and in some cases, like the Gap Fund, we used the CCFLA working groups to help refine the screening criteria for Gap Fund applications to make them easier for cities to use and make them more consistent with other application processes (like ICLEI’s Transformative Action Program).
We have played an active role in the CCFLA since its re-launch in 2019. My colleague Giulia Macagno and I have represented EIB as one of the MDBs on the CCLA Steering Committee and we have participated in various working groups on Project Preparation and Financing Tools, commenting on work programs and specific CCFLA draft outputs. We also join CCFLA advocacy events to promote sustainable urban climate finance in general and to publicize facilities we are providing such as the Gap Fund.