UN Environment - Aligning the Financial System and Infrastructure Investments with Sustainable Development: A Transformational Approach

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Harnessing the financial system is a pre-requisite to deliver the transition to a low-carbon, resilient and inclusive economy as a part of the wider shift to sustainable development. Of the US$ 750 billion/year in additional investment that will be required to meet the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, a significant fraction will need to be invested in sustainable infrastructure. Large-scale infrastructure initiatives present major opportunities for achieving the 2030 Agenda, but infrastructure development can also have major quantitative and qualitative impacts on the climate, terrestrial and marine biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which human well-being depends.

This project, which is financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), will launch a Sustainable Infrastructure Working Group bringing together a diverse range of international organisations, NGOs, and other stakeholder groups to engage with private sector investors and businesses that are involved in infrastructure development. Three key outputs will be produced:

1.    A set of guidelines for how investors and stakeholder can work together to ensure that infrastructure investments are channeled into sustainable infrastructure will be drafted, agreed upon and formally adopted. Additionally, a measurement framework capable of tracking sustainable infrastructure investment commitments will be produced.

2.    Major infrastructure development projects that impact GEF recipient countries will be mapped and their impact on the global environment will be estimated in terms of three Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs): the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the UNCBD. The methodology, the investment map based on global GIS datasets and the results of the environmental impact modeling will be available online.

3.    The developed analytical tools will be piloted in the context of specific infrastructure investments at the country level, identifying key-entry points for GEF assistance and securing measurable commitments from project developers to apply, and conform with, sustainable investment criteria.

Ultimately, the tools and guidelines produced under this project have the potential to be used for future work in other regions and at the global scale to help countries achieve their commitments under the MEAs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Project Details

Contact name:
Rowan Palmer
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