The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved US $385 million in financing to help improve the livability and community health of five cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project will help to construct two clean water supply treatment facilities, three sewerage treatment facilities, and will rehabilitate dysfunctional tube wells among several other important sub projects in the cities of Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan, Mingora, and Peshawar, said an ADB press statement received here.
More than 3.5 million people will benefit from improved access to clean and safe water, reliable and integrated waste management and sanitation services, green urban spaces, and gender-friendly urban facilities. About 150,000 households will gain new connections to water supply systems and have smart water meters installed in their homes.
The statement said, with its rapidly growing urban population, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is becoming more exposed to health risks due to deteriorating municipal services and the impacts of climate change. Strong, climate-resilient urban infrastructure combined with access to reliable services benefit people, the environment, and support sustainable development.
This project will help address these challenges of urban centers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “Large urban projects are often delayed due to their inherent complexity and competing interests in limited urban space,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.
“This project has used ADB’s project readiness financing facility to ensure detailed engineering design, safeguards assessments, and other critical preparatory work was completed in advance—a first for central and west Asia region.
That will ensure the transformative benefits of this project will flow to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province more quickly”, Zhukov added. ADB will provide a US $ 380 million loan and a US $ 5 million grant, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will provide co-financing of US $ 200 million, subject to approval of their board of directors.
Together with US $ 65 million in financing from the Government of Pakistan, this represents ADB’s largest urban project (US $ 650 million equivalent) in Pakistan.
ADB’s loan includes more than US $ 106 million for climate adaptation and mitigation, the bank’s largest climate financing contribution in any urban project in 2021, reaffirming its commitment to helping its developing member countries fight climate change.
With a strong focus on gender, the project will boost women’s access to economic opportunities and increase their participation in urban governance by upgrading a center dedicated to women’s skills development.
The project will rehabilitate streets, parks, and nature trails, adding female-friendly urban facilities such as women’s sports complexes, family areas, and well-lit rest areas and toilets.
The project will also support a scholarship program for qualified female students. The statement added that Pakistan was a founding member of ADB and since 1966, ADB has committed more than US $ 36 billion to promote inclusive economic growth and improve the country’s infrastructure, urban and social services, and resilience to climate change.
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