ISLAMABAD: The government is working to obtain a loan of $142 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to improve access to safely managed water, sanitation, solid waste management and green urban spaces in five cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Under the ‘Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project’ (KPCIP), the provincial government will construct, rehabilitate and revitalise core urban infrastructure in Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan and Mingora.
This will be achieved through two inter-linked outputs: urban infrastructure and public spaces improved and expanded; and institutional capacities of urban service providers, provincial government and city government strengthened.
The proposed project is co-financed with the Asian Development Bank as lead co-financer. The project is expected to have positive environmental benefits as construction of sanitary landfills, closure of existing dumpsites and construction of sewage treatment plants (STP) will reduce urban pollution and prevent soil and water contamination.
Project will be executed in Peshawar, Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan and Mingora
Urban green space interventions will enhance the urban quality with a range of environmental benefits. The adverse environmental impacts due to large-scale construction at multiple geographic locations will be avoided or minimised through sound design. The project also aims at adopting viable climate resilience measures and innovations into the detailed engineering designs.
ADB says that the project readiness financing for KPCIP is first of this type of financing modality approved by the bank. The project will finance the preparation and engineering design of KP cities’ improvement project, including future pipeline projects for the province.
A report of ADB says engineering design and construction supervision consultant under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s guidance, is currently preparing 26 detailed engineering designs and due diligence assessments for Abbottabad, Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar, Mingora based on the situation analysis, sectoral master plans and feasibility studies.
The design documents will adopt urban climate change resilience principles and the list of innovation for climate change resilience. Key sector master plans for four cities encompass water supply, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management.
The list of innovation has identified 54 low carbon and climate resilient technologies and inclusive measures for a range of urban infrastructure and services such as water supply, sanitation, solid waste management and green urban spaces, including pedestrianisation of market area for women and nature-based solutions.
AIIB says Asia has been urbanising at an unprecedented scale and speed and this trend is expected to continue. By 2050, an additional 1.2 billion people are projected to live in Asian cities and Asia’s urban population will account for more than half of the world’s urban population.
The Asian region is also increasingly affected by climate change and natural disasters. A third of the world’s natural disasters that occurred in the last three decades took place in Asia and many of Asia’s coastal cities are expected to be among the worst affected by rising sea levels due to global warming.
Infrastructure investment to support the rapid growth of Asian cities under climate change is urgent. As more Asian cities become engines of economic growth and hubs of trade, infrastructure will be a key contributor for ensuring the connectivity, productivity, efficiency and overall competitiveness of these cities.
In view of Asia’s urgent need for infrastructure investments in cities and its strong alignment to AIIB mandate, the bank has identified financing infrastructure for the sustainable development of cities in Asia as a key priority.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2020