Cooperation between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and five United Nations institutions will be greatly facilitated by an agreement signed on the side-lines of this week’s United Nations General Assembly. The agreement enables the EIB to directly finance technical assistance or advisory support provided by a core group of UN partners: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This will make it easier to work on joint initiatives in which UN partners help project promoters prepare and implement projects eligible for EIB financing.

“We can sign deals for millions of euros with the best of intentions and using the most sophisticated financial instruments, but what really matters is for that assistance to reach the communities it is intended for,” said Ambroise Fayolle, the EIB vice-president in charge of relations with international institutions. “The agreements we have signed with our partners in the UN family draw on our respective strengths and expertise. They will help us to get projects off the ground and deliver our support more quickly and effectively — whether for climate action, clean and efficient energy or for healthcare. This will allow us to work in parts of the world that are most in need and where conditions are most challenging.”

Both the EIB and the United Nations are committed to working with countries around the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Projects outside the European Union often require technical assistance or expert advice to help them comply with international standards. Joining forces with UN partners allows the EU bank to leverage the global presence, network and technical expertise of the UN family and enables it to work with regional and local clients that it would otherwise not have access to. For instance, UN agencies are trusted partners in fragile or conflict-affected countries and regions.

The EIB has already worked with UN agencies in the past. Under the Ukraine recovery programme, it partnered with UNDP to support the efforts of Ukrainian cities to refurbish social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and sports centres. With WHO and other development banks it launched the Health Impact Investment Platform, which is aiming to strengthen essential, climate and crisis-resilient primary healthcare services in low and middle-income countries. It works together with UNOPS, UNICEF and IOM via memorandums of understanding or individual partnership agreements.

Going forward, the new agreement will help advance the Global Green Bond Initiative, which aims to mobilise capital from institutional investors to finance climate and environment projects by developing green bond markets. It will also further support small-scale and targeted financing in Ukraine or health and other social projects in African countries like Malawi and Angola. The EIB is in discussions with UNICEF and other UN agencies about them joining the agreement at a later stage.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world

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