The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has been cooperating with Azerbaijan for 30 years, since the country joined it in 1992. So far, the bank has invested almost 3.4 billion euros in 181 projects in Azerbaijan .

Since 2019, Azerbaijan has joined the EBRD donor community by contributing $2 million to the Technical Assistance Fund and $2 million to the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership.

Currently, the EBRD focuses on the development of the non-oil sector of Azerbaijan and is increasing investment in the country’s green economy.

Report presents an interview with EBRD Regional Director Katharina Bjorlin Hansen.

As we know you will participate at 27th Baku Energy Forum. Could you please tell us about the importance of holding this forum, considering the current situation in the world?

The Baku Energy Forum will bring together multiple stakeholders including senior government officials, multinational energy companies and development finance institutions to engage in a discussion on several topics directly relevant to the EBRD’s Energy Strategy. The EBRD is a climate finance leader in the region with a strong focus on green financing. In 2021, we adopted the Green Economy Transition (GET) approach to help our countries of operations build resilient, green, and low carbon economies. Through our new GET approach, by 2025 we aim to increase green financing to more than 50 per cent of our annual business volume. We also aim to reduce our net annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 million tonnes over the next five-year period.

Azerbaijan is our country of operations where one of our key goals is to support its efforts towards green economy transition. Therefore, Baku Energy Forum is an important platform for us to exchange views and ideas with diverse stakeholders, but also to generate ideas and create new opportunities in Azerbaijan’s green energy sector.

What’s the importance of Azerbaijan as an energy partner, considering the current situation in the world?

Azerbaijan is an important energy partner for Europe and plays a pivotal role in bringing Caspian energy resources to the European market.

Today, Baku’s role as a reliable energy partner is particularly important. Current geopolitical environment and recent global surge in gas prices have highlighted the urgent need for reliable and diverse access to energy supplies.

Which questions/talks will have the main importance for you in this forum?

We will be particularly active in sessions on green energy transition, including talks on “Green Energy Recovery,” “Path to Net-zero,” and “Opportunities for the Development of Renewable Energy in Azerbaijan.”

Can we expect any talks about the increase of gas supply from Azerbaijan anytime soon?

Diversification of gas sources and routes while reducing the dependency on a single supplier is a priority for all import-dependent regions, especially Europe. The ongoing war in Ukraine and consequent disruption in oil supplies have amplified the urgency of the issue.

According to public statements across Europe, many view Azerbaijan as a partner with a strong potential to provide access to secure and affordable supplies of energy. Therefore, talks can be expected, but the increase of gas supply is ultimately dependent on the capacity of the existing energy infrastructure, something that my Azerbaijani colleagues are better placed to comment on.

How can this forum contribute to your projects with Azerbaijan in the energy sector?

Within the framework of the Paris Agreement, Azerbaijan has committed to achieve a 35 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing the share of electricity generation from renewables to 30 percent by 2030. We are here to support Azerbaijan’s green economy transition efforts. We want to help the country achieve its goals through further policy support and investment. In fact, this is one of the three key priorities in our current Country Strategy for Azerbaijan.