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USD 105 Billion For Sustainable Urban Development Following Habitat III Quito Conference



Clean Energy Natural Gas by Mike Mozart via flickr

The European Investment Bank yesterday praised the New Urban Agenda and confirmed their expected support of more than USD 105 billion for sustainable urban development over the next five years.

This support will be given through investment in sustainable transport, clean energy, water and smart cities. This follows agreement from the 28 European Union shareholders of the European Investment Bank to enhance the impact of urban lending and calls from European Ministers for the EIB to help implement the EU Urban Agenda.

Last month the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank, approved detailed urban lending proposals to increase support for sustainable communities and ensure focused efforts to tackling urban challenges such as climate change, migration and access to affordable housing. This targeted approach reflects both the United Nations Sustainable Goal 11 to support sustainable cities and communities as well as the European Union’s Urban Agenda.

In recent years the European Investment Bank has backed urban investment including providing crucial support for new urban development, sustainable transport and social housing as well as improving water, energy, health and education infrastructure in cities across Europe and around the world.

Looking ahead the European Investment Bank expects support for sustainable urban development in the next five years will represent more than USD 105 billion. This engagement will be enhanced by lending in Europe under the Investment Plan for Europe and following recent agreement to strengthen lending to support of private sector development and investment to improve social and economic infrastructure in regions most impacted by the refugee crisis.

“Unlocking new investment to successfully tackle challenges facing cities around the world is essential to improve lives, enhance economic opportunities and enable better access to basic services for the majority of the world’s population. The European Investment Bank’s reinvigorated support for sustainable urban development following Quito builds on a strong track record of backing transformational investment across Europe and around the world”, said Jan Vapaavuori, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The European Investment Bank is committed to helping cities across Europe and around the world to implement the New Urban Agenda.

During the UN Habitat III conference currently being held in Quito the European Investment Bank also agreed to strengthen cooperation with multilateral development banks to ensure that urban projects are equitable and sustainable. Close cooperation with the European Commission, the Union for the Mediterranean, the French Development Agency crucial for helping to transform cities in North Africa and the Middle East was also highlighted.

“Quito is a key milestone for the EIB and the European Union, as well as our public and private sector partners, including multilateral development banks, and agencies such as UN-HABITAT and UNDP. Sharing experience is crucial to replicate successful sustainable investment that regenerates cities, reduces congestion and strengthens resilience to climate change. Working closely with our partners is essential to ensure that crucial projects can progress and succeed in making a difference. The shared goals and strengthened focus of the new Urban Agenda gives a clear framework to more effectively tackle urban challenges together in the years ahead.” added Vice President Jan Vapaavuori.

Targeted support by the European Investment Bank for sustainable urban development will include enabling schemes that support social inclusion and ensuring that cities can cope with pressures of both climate change and migration. The EIB will also focus urban lending on schemes that use innovation and new technology to better manage cities and increase support for integrated smart cities.

The European Investment Bank has unique global experience supporting sustainable transport in in towns and cities across Europe and around the world. These include schemes to improve public transport in Sao Paolo, Cairo, Istanbul, London, Budapest and Helsinki through new metro, light rail, tramways, roads and cycle path projects.

The key technical and financial support of the multilateral development banks, including the EIB, for the transformational Quito Metro project was emphasised by Mauricio Espinal, the Mayor of Quito, when addressing the UN Habitat III conference. The EIB is providing USD 200m to support construction of the Quito’s first metro line that will reduce congestion and improve access to transport for more than 400,000 people a day once operational.

The EIB is the only international financial institution working both across Europe and around the world to support projects in 160 countries. This unique experience of successfully addressing urban challenges benefit first time projects in cities around the world.



Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness



Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move



Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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