More than half of all people live in urban areas, which helps explain why cities consume close to two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions. As more people move to cities, the speed and scale of urbanization also accelerates the demand for affordable housing, well-connected transport systems, and other infrastructure, basic services, and jobs.
To meet such vast needs, IFC works with governments and the private sector to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities that serve residents and businesses. Areas of focus include green buildings, public transportation, electric vehicles, waste management, water supply, and renewable energy.
IFC’s $8 billion Cities Initiative illustrates how our sustainability principles are already transforming hundreds of urban areas across more than 60 countries. In Bogotá, Colombia, for example, drivers and passengers used to endure bumper-to-bumper traffic because of outdated transportation infrastructure. IFC helped the city build cable cars that cut some commutes by 45 minutes. Riders are also safer, following IFC-led community engagements that revitalized surrounding parks, gardens, and community centers. New IFC-backed bus rapid transit lines have shortened travel times across the city.
IFC’s model for engaging with cities — combining investment and advice — has been replicated in Argentina, where IFC and the Buenos Aires city government partnered to improve urban mobility. IFC provided a $50 million loan to finance sustainable infrastructure such as the new Metrobus and bicycle routes. We have also offered technical advice to support low-emission transport and energy efficiency options for the city, which last year hosted Urban 20, an IFC-supported G20 initiative that brought together mayors from around the world to discuss ways the private sector can promote environmentally friendly urban solutions.
In Mariupol, Ukraine, where an influx of more than 100,000 refugees since 2014 has strained the city’s resources, the aging public transport fleet struggles to meet local needs. IFC’s €12.5 million loan has added efficient and comfortable buses to the fleet alongside a new bus depot, bus workshop tools and equipment, and a traffic planning and management system. IFC is also providing advice to improve the transport system’s governance structure, bolster private sector participation, and enhance long-term financial and operational sustainability.
Expanding access to basic infrastructure and essential services to low-income communities in a sustainable way is one of the ultimate objectives of our Social Bond Program. Proceeds from these bonds contribute to financing projects in these areas. In FY19, we issued 12 social bonds in seven currencies, raising the equivalent of $538 million. In January 2019, in response to investor demand, we more than doubled the outstanding volume of our Australian dollar Kangaroo social bond, raising an additional 400 million Australian dollars.