AKIPRESS.COM - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved the release of $60 million as second tranche of a program to improve the air quality and health in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar.
The policy-based program loan of $160 million for the Ulaanbaatar Air Quality Improvement Program (Phase 2) was approved in December 2019, with the first tranche of $100 million released that month.
The program set out to improve the efficiency of the Government of Mongolia’s National Program for Reducing Air and Environmental Pollution 2017–2025 and the government’s regulatory framework on air quality management. It also implemented urgent measures to reduce air pollution and protect human health in Ulaanbaatar and establish mechanisms for environmentally sound and integrated urban, energy, and transport systems in the capital city and nationwide.
“The government has demonstrated strong ownership and a sense of appreciation of the program benefits and the further work required to green the energy sector,” said ADB Environmental Economist Annabelle C. Giorgetti. “The second tranche follows sustainable long-term measures taken for clean heating supply and accompanying policy reforms. Many of the program reforms are entrenched in state legislation and will be further supported and enhanced under an ongoing ADB technical assistance.”
The program was highly relevant and timely during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which saw social, health, and economic conditions deteriorate for people around the world. There is scientific evidence that people living in areas with higher levels of air pollution face a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and of experiencing more severe symptoms if they do contract the virus.
The program builds on reforms initiated in the Ulaanbaatar Air Quality Improvement Program (Phase 1), a $130 million loan approved in March 2018 that helped improve air quality management efforts and enacted measures to cut pollution and protect health.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.