New grants from Green Social Investment Fund support climate action with strong social impact

10 January 2023

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved €1.25 million in grants from its Green Social Investment Fund (GSIF) to bolster socially inclusive climate measures in three CEB member states.

In North Macedonia, a €1.1 million grant to the Ministry of Education and Science will finance the installation of solar photovoltaic panel systems on at least 25 schools that have been renovated thanks to CEB loans. The project is expected to bring environmental benefits, through the partial substitution of fossil fuel-based energy with clean and renewable energy. The savings made on energy bills will be reinvested to improve the pupils’ learning conditions, generating considerable social benefits. The project will also help raise awareness about energy issues and climate change among schoolchildren.

In Serbia, a €100,000 grant will finance measures to reduce energy consumption of existing and future prisons. The resulting energy efficiency measures are expected to have environmental benefits, by reducing energy consumption, and social benefits, by improving the living conditions of detainees. Moreover, the project will also study how inmates could be directly involved in the implementation of the proposed energy efficiency measures through in-prison vocational training and learning-by-doing programs.

In Bulgaria, a €50,000 grant will support the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) – one of CEB’s long-standing partners in the country – in developing a comprehensive sustainability and climate change strategy, which incorporates ESG factors and risks in its operations. BDB’s activities align with national strategies and programmes to promote economic growth. Through its micro, small and medium enterprises’ lending programme, the BDB is strengthening the resilience of the Bulgarian economy post-COVID and in the context of the war in Ukraine.

In welcoming these new grants Governor Carlo Monticelli said: “Thanks to the GSIF, we are providing tangible support to our member countries to enhance energy efficiency of social infrastructure. This way CEB contributes to making climate measures more affordable and accessible to vulnerable groups.”  


Green Social Investment Fund

The CEB set up the GSIF in 2020 to help its member countries accelerate their transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. To receive support from the GSIF, projects must demonstrate both a social and an environmental impact. Resources from the GSIF may be used for technical assistance or investment grants in CEB’s member states, with priority given to its target group countries in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. 

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, on review for upgrade, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.