How G20 economies are transitioning infrastructure to meet net zero and the Sustainable Development Goals
Following our work on transition pathways for infrastructure with the G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) under the Indonesian G20 Presidency, the GI Hub has been continuing to further develop the initiative into a program of work.
Key lessons from our G20 work on transition pathways were:
- Plenty of work is ongoing in decarbonisation and climate mitigation.
- There is a large gap in resilience and adaptation investments, and no common understanding of what resilient infrastructure is and how to prioritise resilient infrastructure projects.
- The biggest influence on planning and prioritisation decisions is the presence or lack of data on impact and investment levels.
Earlier this year, we consulted with stakeholders to refine a framework
In early 2023, the GI Hub began engaging with stakeholders outside of the G20 to share key trends and insights from the transition pathways dataset. The primary purpose of the consultation was to validate our findings and gather feedback on how the existing transition pathways framework could be further improved. However, it was also important for us to start identifying preliminary use cases and to build an understanding of how the data could potentially be used to support our stakeholders’ own work and initiatives.
Through conversations with public and private sector stakeholders over a period of six months, we gained insight into how to better define the pathways, update our framework, and present our process and analysis in a more impactful way. Key themes that emerged during consultation with stakeholders were:
- The transition pathways framework is a valuable way to understand what strategies are available to achieve decarbonisation, resilience, and social impact – and delving further into the data provides examples of specific policies and actions that the G20 economies are planning to enact.
- The transition pathways investment trends are interesting and insightful but hard to apply to the infrastructure prioritisation process without a set decisionmaking framework or tool.
- Understanding the current ‘baseline’ for long-term strategic investment can help us understand how much more infrastructure needs to be delivered by governments in time for 2030 and 2050 milestones.
- Across the board, stakeholders observed that investment into resilience and adaptation is much less than investment in decarbonisation and mitigation. There may be several reasons for this:
- Resilience and adaptation investments are often cross-cutting across infrastructure sectors. As a result, investments in resilient infrastructure may not be delineated/tagged as ‘resilience’ in plans, and therefore would not be captured in our analysis.
- There is no common definition for resilient infrastructure. Interoperable taxonomies for sustainable and resilient infrastructure are needed to allow governments to effectively signpost priorities for sustainable and resilient investments. National governments need to be setting clear plans (with KPIs, timings, and investment details), so that government line agencies, industry, and the private sector have a direction to follow and know where to be investing.
- Unlike for climate mitigation, there is no global adaptation target. A global goal for adaptation is still in development.
This is how our stakeholders said they might use the data:
- To understand options for investment strategies to achieve net-zero and sustainable infrastructure development
- To benchmark investment for their own government against a G20 average
- To apply the 15 transition pathways as a framework to map planned investment for their own government to climate goals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our final report was shared with key stakeholders
In July 2023, to celebrate and showcase the end product of our first consultation phase, we invited more than 20 stakeholders to attend and participate in a ‘Behind the Report: Transition Pathways for Sustainable Infrastructure’ session. The GI Hub presented an overview of long-term infrastructure investment trends across the G20 and provided a deep-dive analysis into one of the transition pathways: ‘Scaling up the adoption of InfraTech’.
The GI Hub presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion, where we asked attendees what they believed to be the most important elements of strategic planning for infrastructure. The top answers were ‘having a strategy’, ‘quantifying targets’, ‘data on investment trends and investment gaps’, and ‘approaches to securing private sector buy-in’.
We also asked attendees about the key challenges to using data to inform strategic planning for infrastructure. The main responses were:
- Investing in ESG-aligned infrastructure is on the rise as the private sector becomes increasingly interested in aligning its investments with the Paris Agreement targets and SDGs. Despite this increasing trend, there is no common taxonomy for ESG-aligned infrastructure, and as a result, certain infrastructure assets with transformative potential are being excluded from planning and investment decisions.
- Understanding and quantifying the cost and benefits of climate-aligned investments is a powerful tool for decisionmakers. As decarbonisation projects are currently more attractive to investors than resilience projects, understanding the cost/benefit of resilience will help attract investment into climate adaptation and resilience, particularly private investment.
Next steps and development of decisionmaking tool for resilient infrastructure
As a next step, we have been continuing the conversation with key stakeholders who are interested in our next phase of work – the development of a decisionmaking tool to address the ‘three levels of strategic planning’: setting goals, identifying pathways, and implementation. The scope of the tool has been defined by taking on the collective feedback of our stakeholder group, in addition to a scan/review of existing tools already available for climate transition planning.
We are currently seeking knowledge and funding partners to deliver the decisionmaking tool, focused on planning for resilient infrastructure. As part of this, we will be looking to better understand the benefits, impact, and investment gap for resilience, and to collect and collate implementation mechanisms such as policies and incentives, InfraTech examples, delivery models, and funding and financing models for resilience projects.
Outcomes to date
We have engaged more than 35 public and private stakeholders from both advanced and emerging economies (spanning 10 countries and regions) during the consultation phase and have been invited to present the work at five events and fora. They include governments, development banks, consultancies, academic institutions, professional associations, and other international organisations.
In the next phase, the decisionmaking tool we develop will be tested by an end user group consisting of government and policymakers.
To explore the strategies, data or learn how to get involved in the next stage, visit our Transition Pathways for Sustainable Infrastructure website.