8 August 2019

Single stop for Quality Infrastructure Guidance launched

Written by Stephanie Barker
8 August 2019

Increasingly, infrastructure leaders, investors and developers are recognising the need to not only increase the quantity of infrastructure investment globally to drive economic growth, but also the quality of infrastructure investment, to ensure that that growth and development is inclusive and sustainable.

At the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit, the G20 Leaders adopted a declaration “stressing the importance of quality infrastructure investment, which aims to ensure economic efficiency in view of life-cycle cost, safety, resilience against natural disaster, job creation, capacity building, and transfer of expertise and know-how on mutually agreed terms and conditions, while addressing social and environmental impacts and aligning with economic and development strategies”.

Under the Japanese G20 Presidency this year, the theme of quality infrastructure was a strong focus and in June 2019, the G20 Leaders' endorsed the new Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment (QII).

These Principles emphasise that quality infrastructure is essential to closing the infrastructure gap. They are:

  1. Maximizing the positive impact of infrastructure to achieve sustainable growth and development;
  2. Raising economic efficiency in view of life-cycle cost;
  3. Integrating environmental considerations in infrastructure investments;
  4. Building resilience against natural disasters and other risks;
  5. Integrating social considerations in infrastructure investment; and
  6. Strengthening infrastructure governance.

To support the Japanese G20 agenda, the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub), together with the World Bank and the OECD, developed the QII Database, which is intended to serve as a single-stop point of global guidance for policymakers, practitioners, investors, citizens and project companies to access reference materials and resources for ensuring quality in infrastructure planning and delivery.

The database was recognised in the Finance Minister’s Communiqué as a tool which will help effective implementation of quality infrastructure investment. It follows the work undertaken by the G20, OECD and World Bank in 2018 which created a Stocktake of Tools and Instruments related to Infrastructure as an Asset Class.

How to use the database

The database is based on an assessment of over 450 materials that cover both resources and facilities.

You’ll be able to search by ‘Resources’ to access a wealth of information, including but not limited to:

  • framework/toolkits;
  • reference guides;
  • study reports;
  • websites; and
  • publications.

In addition, you can search by ‘Facilities’ which are programs or ‘windows’ offering financial support (in the forms of grants, equity investments, debt investments or project preparations support) relating to QII.

Users can also filter by a Quality Infrastructure Principle.

Each search result will provide:

  • the name of the resource or facility and its “owner”;
  • a brief description of the resource or facility;
  • the date of publication of the resource or the date of effectiveness of the facility (if available);
  • the “resource type”, which also includes the type of facility;
  • the country or region referred to in the resource or for which the facility is available;
  • the relevant infrastructure driver(s), or policies i.e. the stage of the project life cycle covered; and
  • the quality infrastructure principles covered.

The GI Hub has conducted an initial analysis on the themes of quality infrastructure currently covered by the resources and facilities in the database and has come up with some initial findings. 

Strong emphasis on strengthening infrastructure governance and economic efficiency

A large number of resource materials have been driven by Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) efforts. While Principle 6 – Strengthening Infrastructure Governance is addressed in 93% of the material compiled so far, Principle 2 – Raising Economic Efficiency is addressed in 78%.

Within Infrastructure Governance, the emphasis has been on strengthening baseline data, guidance on financial sustainability, and improving transparency of planning and procurement processes.

The main focus under Raising Economic Efficiency is on risk mitigation and improving value for money. 

More needed on integrating Disaster Resilience and Social Considerations in infrastructure investment

Only 19% of resources have incorporated Disaster Resilience elements. It is also noted that these resources had a wider QII focus, covering two or more of the QII Principles. In short, there are only a limited number of resources focused exclusively on Disaster Resilience.

There is also limited coverage on Social Considerations in comparison to resources dealing with Economic Efficiency and Infrastructure Governance. Resources dealing with Social Considerations primarily focus on the methodologies for assessing the social impacts of projects, and on capacity building to undertake such social impact assessments. There is relatively little detailed guidance on specific Social Consideration issues – such as gender considerations, disability, occupational health and safety, and job creation. 

The facilities provide a balanced approach in addressing QII requirements

The QII Principles covered by facilities are aligned to each facility’s overall objectives and its role in the project lifecycle. Project Preparation Facilities (PPFs), especially the ones managed by MDBs, have a particularly wide impact and tend to be applicable across each of the six QII Principles. In contrast, Technical Assistance facilities tend to provide specific support for capacity building (related to Principle 5) and improvements in Infrastructure Governance (Principle 6). Guarantee facilities support mitigating risks related to project planning and investments (related to Principle 2) and investment facilities tend to support strengthening Infrastructure Governance (Principle 6) and improving Economic Efficiency (Principle 2). 

Suggest a resource or facility for the QII Database

We’re pleased to have contributed to the G20 Presidency’s deliverables on the topic of quality infrastructure by creating this database and look forward to expanding and maintaining it as a resource for policy makers and practitioners globally. The GI Hub is committed to ensuring the QII Database remains up-to-date, and we encourage submissions to be made at any time at QIIDatabase@gihub.org