A city in southeastern Turkey joined the Green Cities program of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), according to an official statement on Tuesday.
In the statement that came after Fatma Şahin, the mayor of Gaziantep, signed an agreement in London to join the initiative, the EBRD said it would help the city develop a comprehensive step-by-step investment program to tackle environmental challenges.
A city of more than 2 million, Gaziantep also hosts about half-a-million Syrian refugees – the second-most in Turkey after Istanbul, the statement noted.
EBRD's Green Cities program, which aims to boost the sustainability of cities and city-dwellers, works to identify the environmental challenges that cities face and connect them with sustainable infrastructure investments and policy measures.
"We are living in a new era in terms of local government – now is the time to focus on the green economy. One of the most important issues to consider while doing municipal work nowadays is the protection of the environment," Şahin said in the statement.
"I believe that we have taken important steps towards transforming Gaziantep into a green city. That is why this agreement that we have signed with the EBRD is very important to us. Together, we will make a great contribution to a better world," she added.
EBRD Managing Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Group Nandita Parshad said they would identify, prioritize and connect environmental challenges with sustainable infrastructure investments and policy measures.
After exploring solar investment opportunities and help Gaziantep integrate these into its electricity grid, the EBRD will help the city devise a Green City Action Plan to examine how to climate-proof essential services, including solid waste, water, wastewater, street lighting, energy supply and transport.
The Clean Technology Fund, which is part of the Climate Investment Funds, will finance the plan's development.