The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Monday reported that it has approved an additional loan of over $19.4 million to scale up a project that is upgrading urban infrastructure and management services in fast growing aimag centers and border towns in Southeast Gobi.
The fresh loan will finance new wastewater treatment plants, while a technical assistance grant of $1 million from the Sanitation Financing Partnership Trust Fund, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be used to assist the government in addressing sludge reuse, including implementing a pilot in at least one of the project aimag centers. The initial ADB project grant of $15 million, approved in 2010, supported infrastructure and service upgrades in Dornogobi and Omnogobi aimags. The new assistance will help meet the needs of other rapidly growing aimag centers--Avairkheer and Tsetserleg.
“Mongolia has seen very fast growth in urban areas in recent years, as mining operations have expanded and trade with the People’s Republic of China has picked up, but services and infrastructure haven’t kept pace,” said Antonio Ressano-Garcia, an ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist. “This new assistance will support essential urban improvements in selected aimag centers, giving a significant boost to the living conditions in these areas as well as aiding economic development.”
The fresh funds will cover the construction of modern wastewater treatment plants in four aimag centers (Dalanzadgad, Sainshand, Avairkheer and Tsetserleg) to replace the current inadequate pond systems. The wastewater plants will meet government standards for discharge, including reusing sewage effluent. Further support for building know-how and institutional reforms will be provided for public utility service organizations in Avairkheer and Tsetserleg towns, resulting in improved planning, management, and cost recovery for services.
The earlier project is on track to achieve most of its outputs, with significant improvements already made to water supply, sewerage, solid waste management and heating coverage. Almost 95% of ger area dwellers in the target soums now have access to potable water within 300 meters of their dwellings, resulting in a substantial reduction in water collection time for women and children. It has also established standard service agreements for local governments and public utility service organizations.
While the revised financing plan will see ADB’s total assistance exceed $34.4 million the Government of Mongolia will contribute with just over $8.6 million. The project, which was initially approved in 2010, will see the additional activities carried out for about 3.5 years with an estimated completion date of December 2019.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members--48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including co-financing of $10.7 billion.
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