Infrastructure for the Sustainable Development Goals

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Infrastructure is critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Simply put, infrastructure underpins global economic and human development and many countries will not be able to meet their SDG targets without significant additional investments in infrastructure, both new and existing.

At the same time, the types of infrastructure we put in place can have major quantitative and qualitative impacts on the climate (SDG 13), terrestrial (SDG 15) and marine biodiversity (SDG 14), and the ecosystem services on which human well-beings ultimately depend. How infrastructure projects are designed will also have different social impacts, especially on employment and the reduction of poverty and inequalities.

Recognizing these challenges and opportunities, it is important that the community of knowledge providers, standard setters, training institutions, financial institutions, investors, contractors, and other stakeholders and beneficiaries that have an interest in the development of sustainable infrastructure, work together to address a number of priorities, including:

  • Addressing the need for proactive, trans-disciplinary, systems-level strategic approaches to infrastructure planning and development that incorporate inclusiveness, resilience, security sustainability across different sectors, in close connection to the 2030 Agenda;
  • Promoting nature-based solutions, including green infrastructure and natural infrastructure, as key components of systems-level strategic approaches to infrastructure planning and development;
  • Supporting sustainable infrastructure development by sharing data, knowledge, tools, approaches, and other mechanisms for increasing the resilience, security and social and environmental sustainability of infrastructure development. This should include the stocktaking of existing tools and approaches, synthesis, and the development of new tools and approaches, as necessary;
  • Building stakeholders’ capacity to use available data, knowledge, tools, approaches, and other mechanisms to incorporate sustainable infrastructure into development and business strategies;
  • Creating and supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms that contribute to transparent deliberative processes around infrastructure development, such that accurate and relevant information is openly available to the public and reaches key stakeholders at all levels.