The Project Preparation Committee (PPC), whose secretariat is located at the EBRD, was established in 1993 to help match donor co-financing for environmental projects with the market-based financing available from international financial institutions. PPC officers work closely with the Bank to identify and develop environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency projects. Donor funding has enabled the EBRD to finance environmental projects that, due to the nature of the sector, require extensive resources for their preparation and appraisal. In cases in which donors have provided grants for investments, this assistance has helped to improve the financial feasibility of projects and allowed the Bank to provide loans. The PPC's ninth plenary meeting was held at the EBRD's headquarters in October 1996 and focused on the co-financing of environmental investment in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. It also concentrated on the followup activities related to the decisions made at the "Environment for Europe" ministerial conference in Sofia in October 1995, such as green equity schemes and the further development of pilot projects for joint implementation.
The EBRD's Environmental Advisory Council (ENVAC), a forum of environmental experts from the Bank's countries of operations and country- members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, continued to advise the President and staff on policy and strategy issues related to the Bank's environmental mandate; two formal meetings of ENVAC were held in 1996. Two editions of the Bank's bulletin Environments in Transition were published during the year.
In 1996, the EIB provided a total of ECU 23.2 billion in loans (up by 8.4 percent from 1995), of which 20.9 billion went to European Union (EU) members (a rise of 12.6 percent), including 13.6 billion (70 percent) for projects fostering regional development. Since March 1996, and in anticipation of the creation of a single European currency, the EIB decided to introduce a repayment parity of one Euro to one ECU for its ECU loan issues.
ECU 2.3 billion were advanced to countries outside the Union, completing commitments under the expiring lending mandates for Central and Eastern European Europe, the Mediterranean region, South Africa, and Asia and Latin America. The EIB is currently preparing for renewed mandates from the Council of Ministers in these areas, and under the Lomé IV Second Financial Protocol.
The two main components of the EIB's environmental policy are the financing of investment projects specifically directed toward protecting and