The Azerbaijani Government wishes to ensure that high-quality technical standards are applied to improve roads and traffic safety,
“In this regard, the Regional Connectivity and Development Project, financed by the World Bank, was screened for short and long-term climate change and disaster risks using the World Bank Climate and Disaster Risk Screening Tool. The primary risks for the project road are associated with higher and more extreme temperatures leading to changes in precipitation patterns. The parts of Azerbaijan at greatest risk of floods are in the center and south-east parts of the country, which encompasses the project region.
The primary risks for the project road (Salyan-Bilasuvar) are associated with higher and more extreme temperatures leading to changes in precipitation patterns. In the project region, the projected increases in precipitation and sudden snowmelt in mountains, is likely to exacerbate flood risk, which is already occurring,” reads the WB report.
According to the study, there is an estimated 10 percent chance of potentially damaging earthquakes in the project area in the next 50 years:
“It is estimated that there is a 50 percent chance of weather that could support wildfires in the project area, and climate projections indicate a likely increase in the severity of a fire, although the consequences of fire on connectivity is likely to be of short duration with low damage impact on the roads.
Overall, the impacts on the project’s physical infrastructure and assets are rated as moderate, since projections indicate rising temperatures, some probability of increased flooding in the project area, and a moderate risk of geo-hazard.”
The report notes that Azerbaijan presented its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015.
“The Government of Azerbaijan stated that it believes that climate change is a potential threat for humanity and supported the adoption of the Global Agreement on climate change, as agreed at the UNFCCC 21st Conference of Parties held in Paris in 2015.
By 2030 Azerbaijan targets a 35 percent reduction in the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990 base year as its contribution to the global climate change efforts. Mitigation measures proposed for the Transport sector include the use of environmentally friendly forms of transport including electric vehicles for public transport, electrification of railway lines, and an expansion of intelligent transport management system.”
To address the road safety issues, in 2018, the President of Azerbaijan approved a comprehensive reform-oriented State Road Safety Program for 2019-2023, which was the first initiated under the WB financed Second Highway Project. Meanwhile, EBRD and ADB have provided financing for technical assistance (TA) across a range of areas, including road maintenance for secondary and local roads, and capacity building for road agency personnel.
However, the WB says that road safety needs further improvement in Azerbaijan:
“Currently Azerbaijan has more fatalities from road crashes than many other countries in the wider region. Substantial state investment in road infrastructure has brought benefits in terms of more efficient traffic management, and these measures have played an important role in reducing road traffic crashes in Azerbaijan in recent years, but further improvement is needed. The Government wishes to ensure that high-quality technical standards are applied to improve roads and traffic safety.”
The World Bank has supported the Azerbaijani Government’s road sector program with three highway projects, with a total investment of about $1.1 billion since 2001. The bank intends to allocate $65 million for Regional Connectivity and Development Project.