“The Project supports integration of rural environment investments at the local level to promote better health outcomes and improved quality of life,” said Karin Shepardson, head of the Bank task team for the project. “Its design has been adapted to support Romania in meeting its EU commitments as a New Member State, and both complements and promotes use of EU grant funds for environment and rural development investments.”
After EU accession, Romania’s compliance with the environment acquis was estimated at a net present value of Euro 17 billion over a period of 11 years – the highest of any accession country. The most significant efforts will be required in the water sector, where agreements with the EU for improved water management include addressing nitrate pollution from agricultural sources – the EU Nitrate Directive.
The combination of underdeveloped sanitation, poor livestock management, and a large number of small farms results in significant nitrate and microbial contamination of shallow groundwater – the main source of potable water in rural areas. The effects of this are observed in high concentration of nitrates, an indicator of general pollution and contamination affecting both the environment and public health.
The Project builds from a successful pilot in Calarasi County financed with earlier GEF support and several ongoing IBRD programs for rural development and agriculture. Successful elements have been scaled-up and complemented by actions to strengthen institutional and regulatory capacity for its integration into national programs. Contributions from the GEF are part of the Black Sea-Danube Strategic Partnership Investment Facility managed by the World Bank.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financial mechanism with 177 member countries that addresses global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. GEF grants support projects in developing countries related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. Since its inception in 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record of support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $6.2 billion in grants and leveraging $20 billion in co-financing for over 1,800 projects in over 150 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), GEF has also made more than 7,000 small grants, up to $50,000 each, directly to nongovernmental organizations and community organizations