Projects related to transport made up the other main group of loans going to the Central and Eastern European Countries: the Bucharest Metro (ECU 20 million), Romanian road network (ECU 70 million), Polish motorway (ECU 100 million), and Estonian railways (ECU 16 million). A loan of ECU 22 million has been provided for the upgrading of the Lithuanian railway network. This loan brought total EIB lending in Lithuania to ECU 101 million. This railway improvement programme is also supported by the EU grant aid programme PHARE and by the EBRD. Extending the trans-European transport networks to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will also help these states in their effort to prepare for EU membership in a not too distant future.
At the end of 1996, EIB's total lending in Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia had reached ECU 4.8 billion.
Carolina Lasén Diaz
Following the mandate imparted by the Eighth Replenishment in 1994, the Bank continued to integrate environmental objectives more completely with its goals of combating poverty and supporting equitable social and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Bank's lending thus concentrated on the priority areas of poverty reduction, human capital formation, rural poverty and sustainable agriculture, integrated natural resources management and the environment, urban development, economic and financial modernization and integration, and strengthening of civil society and democratic institutions.
In 1996, the IDB and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) approved 12 environmental and natural resources operations for a total of $816 million, up from $796 million a year earlier. In addition, the Bank approved 50 technical cooperations for a total of $27 million reflecting an emphasis on policy formulation, management, and the design of institutional and legal frameworks. Environmental projects covered sanitation and sewerage, potable water, wastewater treatment and flood control in urban areas, and three major sustainable natural resources management projects totaling $129 million in Colombia, Nicaragua, and the Petén region of Guatemala. Special emphasis was given to social areas, which are targeted to receive 40 percent of the Bank's lending. In 1996, the Bank approved 40 operations in this area totaling $2.7 billion.
Seven investment loans totaling of $677 million were approved to improve the quality of the urban environment, including flood control and sanitation