World Bank approves $265m loan to improve earthquake resilience in Turkey

Turkey has one of the highest gender gaps in the world in labour force participation and this gap is even more acute in the technical and engineering sectors.


World Bank | Updated: 10-06-2021 12:01 IST | Created: 10-06-2021 12:01 IST
World Bank approves $265m loan to improve earthquake resilience in Turkey
Energy efficiency is also critical for Turkey to sustain its economic growth while meeting its commitments for climate change and environmental sustainability. Image Credit: ANI

The World Bank today approved a $265 million loan to Turkey to strengthen the safety of public buildings against the dangers of earthquakes while also improving energy efficiency to reduce energy bills and harmful carbon emissions.

The Seismic Resilience and Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings Project will better insulate, strengthen or reconstruct more than 140 schools, dormitories, hospitals, and government buildings, directly benefiting about 26,000 people who live, work or use these buildings, including school children and employees. More broadly, the benefits will accrue to more than 6 million citizens reliant on the public services provided by the targeted buildings.

The project will make an important contribution to training female engineers and, thereby, increasing the number of female engineers in key technical roles. Turkey has one of the highest gender gaps in the world in labour force participation and this gap is even more acute in the technical and engineering sectors.

Turkey is one of the most exposed countries in the world to earthquakes, with 76 earthquakes since 1900 resulting in approximately 90,000 deaths, affecting more than 7 million people and with direct losses exceeding US425 billion. Generally, buildings that were built before 2000 when modern construction codes for seismic resistance were introduced in Turkey, are considered to face a higher risk of serious damage in an earthquake. Tens of thousands of public buildings, constructed prior to 2000, that provide critical health, education and public services to citizens are in urgent need of structural strengthening or reconstruction.

"The World Bank is pleased to support Turkey in its ambitious plans to make the country's stock of buildings resilient to earthquake and a source of energy savings. While focused on public buildings, this project is an important step and its success is likely to spur similar transformations in the private sector, thus contributing to Turkey's climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda," said Auguste Kouame, World Bank Country Director for Turkey.

Energy efficiency is also critical for Turkey to sustain its economic growth while meeting its commitments for climate change and environmental sustainability. With the energy sector accounting for over 70 percent of the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and global warming on the rise, thermal insulation and other green measures are critical for ensuring the comfort of building occupants without increasing energy consumption. Investments in energy-efficient buildings can also reduce Turkey's dependence on energy imports while reducing public expenditures on the energy costs of its more than 175,000 public building stock.

"Buildings with the greatest vulnerability to disasters are also energy inefficient. By combining structural strengthening of buildings with energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, this project will yield significant cost efficiencies while fostering long-term resilience and sustainability," noted Alanna Simpson, one of the World Bank Project Team Leaders.

"The project will also result in much lower operating costs which the government can redeploy to make other improvements in the provision of public services," added Jas Singh, the other World Bank Team Leader.

The project's main components include:

Investments in central government buildings for seismic strengthening and energy efficiency improvement: This will involve structural strengthening to reduce earthquake risk and increase climate change adaptation interventions, which will include strengthening roofs to withstand wind and snow loads, and rainwater harvesting during times of water scarcity. Measures to improve energy efficiency will support increased functionality and comfort for the buildings' occupants during extreme heat and cold events, which are expected to increase with climate change. The promotion of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, will improve business continuity during disasters.

Advanced technical assistance and capacity building: This involves the development of a long term and significantly scaled-up investment program focused on increasing energy efficiency, structural strengthening, and multi-hazard resilience of public buildings. Activities undertaken and lessons learnt under this component will also have broader applicability to private and residential structures in the country.

The World Bank is a leading partner in disaster risk management, urban development, and energy efficiency in Turkey. In recent years, the Bank has implemented the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project; the Safe Schools Project financed by the Facility for Refugees in Turkey; the Disaster Risk Management in Schools Project; the Small and Medium Enterprises Energy Efficiency Project; and the Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings Project, among others.

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