ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday has signed two financing agreements worth $400 million with the World Bank including Punjab Cities Programme ($200 million) and Punjab Green Development Programme ($200 million).

Economic Affairs Division Secretary Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani signed the financing agreements on behalf of the Government of Pakistan while representatives of Government of Punjab signed their respective Programme/Operation Agreements. Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director signed the Financing and Programme/Operation Agreements on behalf of the World Bank.

The World Bank last week has committed $728 million through four projects to put Pakistan on the path of climate resilient development which would benefit millions of its citizens.  The projects included Punjab Cities Programme and Punjab Green Development Programme, which were signed Tuesday.

These projects will protect the environment and improve the quality of life in cities while being engines of growth and promoting sustainable water management through efficient irrigation, robust weather forecasting and improved disaster preparedness. The $200 million Punjab Cities Programme will benefit 4.1 million people in 16 urban areas by strengthening local govts' ability to deliver basic and green infrastructure.

The programme will also build systems to improve transparency, accountability, and responsiveness of municipal committees and other structures. Punjab Cities Programme aims to strengthen the performance of participating urban local governments in urban management and service delivery.

The programme will Support the Operation Implementing Entity's implementation of its Performance Based Grants (PBG) programme to selected 16 MCs for strengthening their institutional performance and the carrying out eligible infrastructure investments.

The $200 million Punjab Green Development Programme will strengthen the province's environmental management through empowering its departments to provide better environmental services to citizens and the private sector, with a focus on strengthening the capacity of the Environment Protection Department. It will help modernize laws and regulations and promote investments in cleaner technologies to reduce air and water pollution.

The objectives of the Punjab Green Development Programme are to strengthen environmental governance and promote green investments in Punjab Province.

Activities under the first results area will aim to restructure the Environment Protection Department (EPD), reform the environmental regulatory regime, and build the EPD's capacity to deliver transparent and efficient environmental management services to the private sector and to the public.

Activities under the second results area aim to promote selected green investments in both the public and private sectors and develop green financing schemes to finance such investments beyond the implementation period of this programme. The Economic Affairs Division secretary thanked the World Bank for extending its continuous support to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve sustainable development in the country.