The G20 Riyadh Leaders’ Summit was held over the weekend, marking the end of Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency, against the backdrop of a challenging year and the still uncontained COVID-19 pandemic.
The Summit highlighted the pandemic’s continued effect on health, social and economic impacts worldwide, but also the progress made against the G20 agenda despite these challenges. A core message of the Leaders’ Declaration was the need for coordinated global action, solidarity and multilateral cooperation to shape a resilient, sustainable and inclusive era post-COVID-19.
An updated G20 Action Plan and second G20 Action Plan Progress Report were both endorsed, reflecting the progress against the G20 agenda and the Saudi Presidency’s priorities. Importantly, the Leaders’ Declaration also reaffirms the role of infrastructure investment in recovery. The Global Infrastructure Hub’s (GI Hub) work for the G20 Action Plan has shown that infrastructure investments are an important element of stimulus that drives economic recovery; infrastructure development has positive short-term impacts on productivity, growth and jobs as well as creating conditions for long-term competitiveness and the transition towards a resource-efficient, sustainable economy.
Supporting the G20 through contributions to the G20 Action Plan has been a key focus for the GI Hub, during the Saudi Presidency, our work has spanned the response to the COVID-19 crisis as well as other priority areas:
Boosting economic recovery through InfraTech
Recognising that infrastructure is a driver of growth, economic recovery and resilience – and that it can be enhanced through technology – the G20 endorsed the G20 Riyadh InfraTech Agenda in July 2020.
The Riyadh InfraTech Agenda promotes the use of technology in infrastructure, with the aim of improving investment decisions, enhancing value for money, and promoting quality infrastructure investments for the delivery of better social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The GI Hub supported this Agenda through our work under Reference Note 1 of the G20 Riyadh InfraTech Agenda. We created and published a stock take of InfraTech Use Cases that illustrate applications of technology in infrastructure and highlight benefits, including application to COVID-19 and other pandemics. As governments face increasing fiscal constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of InfraTech and delivery of quality infrastructure are key steps that will help close the infrastructure gap.
Advancing quality infrastructure
The GI Hub will continue to support the G20’s efforts to advance work related to the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment (QII). Our current work includes a member-led survey on the G20 QII Principles, which aims to facilitate the compilation of good practices, provide analysis to highlight where more progress could be made and help inform the important work on QII indicators.
In 2019 the GI Hub collaborated with the OECD and the World Bank to create the Quality Infrastructure Investment Database which includes resources and facilities relevant to QII under the principles of: sustainable growth and development, economic efficiency, environmental considerations, building resilience, social considerations and infrastructure governance.
The QII Principles were endorsed as the G20’s “common strategic direction and high aspiration” at the 2019 G20 Osaka Leaders’ Summit.
Fostering private investment in infrastructure
The G20 recognises that mobilisation of private sector investment in infrastructure remains critical, while the advancement of the G20 Roadmap for Infrastructure as an Asset Class is crucial to catalyse long-term private investment in infrastructure.
The GI Hub’s Infrastructure Monitor report was referenced in the second G20 Action Plan, citing our findings of a decade-long decline in private investment in new infrastructure, to about US$100 billion in 2019.
Looking to the future
The GI Hub is currently conducting analyses to identify how experience from current and previous stimulus packages can support G20 governments in making more informed decisions on how to include infrastructure – and particularly, transformative infrastructure – as stimulus post-COVID. To stay informed about this work, please subscribe for updates here.
By working closely with the G20’s Infrastructure Working Group, other relevant working groups, MDBs and international organisations the GI Hub remains committed to supporting G20 members in the global economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
You can read the full G20 Riyadh Summit Leaders’ Declaration here.