Introduction sectionG20 economic recovery lays on a transformative infrastructure agenda

G20 economic recovery lays on a transformative infrastructure agenda

The Covid-19 crisis represents an enormous challenge for most infrastructure systems. Infrastructure networks in key sectors such as transportation and energy have been severely affected by the crisis. This has had a direct impact on essential social infrastructure, with healthcare and education paying the higher cost.

 

The crisis has shown that reliable and agile infrastructure systems are critical to absorb unexpected shocks and that infrastructure investments hold the key to global economic recovery. Holding the G20 Presidency in this critical juncture, Italy has the responsibility for steering the economic recovery discussion.

 

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have recently reaffirmed the pivotal role of infrastructure in the G20 Action Plan (agreed in April 2020 and then updated last October), and committed to redoubling efforts to promote quality infrastructure investments and mobilise private sources of infrastructure finance.

 

Taking on this challenge and looking beyond the crisis, the Italian G20 Presidency has proposed that a transformative infrastructure agenda be based on the 3P priority framework: People, Planet and Prosperity.

 

This approach centres on making present infrastructure more resilient and inclusive, improving maintenance of existing assets and promoting future digital and sustainable infrastructure.

 

On Friday 29 January, the first seminar was held. This would be followed, in the coming months, by other events, which will feed the infrastructure debate in a bid to encourage an inclusive dialogue between G20 members and relevant stakeholders.

 

The online workshop, hosted by the G20 partner organization Global Infrastructure Hub, sparked an insightful exchange among policymakers and global experts on ‘Mobilizing Infrastructure Investments to achieve Transformative Recovery’.

 

The G20 has long supported the momentum for a global infrastructure agenda and looked at common strategies to increase investments and reduce infrastructure gaps. However, in the current global scenario, it is imperative to identify and speed up implementation of specific and actionable policy measures aimed at fostering economic growth, job creation and social inclusion.

 

The discussion also highlighted that infrastructure investments is crucial to mitigate the major impact infrastructure has on climate change, in particular in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, pressure on ecosystems and natural resources.

 

Many governments have already stepped up to embrace this new paradigm. In this context, Global Infrastructure Hub presented the first results of its InfraTracker, an infrastructure investment tracking-tool to monitor public financial commitments.

 

Friday’s debate also looked at the role that green and innovative infrastructures could play in boosting productivity, as the IMF 2021 World Economic Outlook pointed out just few days ago. There is a real opportunity to link short-term job creation with medium-term goals, setting the stage for greater sustainability, preparedness and resilience to crises. In this sense, the good quality of projects and investments will be crucial.

 

This is why the Italian G20 Presidency decided to support the Global Infrastructure Hub’s InfraChallenge and call on all the brilliant minds around the world to participate in a competition with innovative and transformative ideas and projects, to make sure future infrastructure are sustainable, resilient, smart and accessible to all.

 

From today, InfraChallenge 2021 invites applicants from around the world to pitch their innovative, tech-based solutions for building and maintaining better, more resilient infrastructure.

 

The annual InfraChallenge competition is open to all industries across the globe. This year, the competition is also part of the 2021 Italian G20 Presidency’s infrastructure agenda. Applicants to the innovation challenge will provide solutions to help support the G20 Presidency’s aim to promote quality infrastructure investment and transformative infrastructure responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 

Discussions on the infrastructure transformative agenda will continue tomorrow, Thursday 4 February, with a debate organised by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) on 'Financing infrastructure investments for local communities’.

 

As local authorities implement some 50 percent of infrastructure investments in G20 countries, this debate will look at their crucial role in setting up this transformative agenda.

 

Local authorities are a fundamental ring of the chain and provide essential education, social, healthcare services. At local level, social infrastructures should narrow gaps for the most fragile sections of society, putting citizens at the centre of the territory’s development and overcoming the existing obstacles to effective public and private investments in local infrastructures.

 

Finally, this round of infrastructure-related events will be closed by the second G20 Infrastructure Working Group meeting, scheduled for Tuesday 9 February 2021. Discussions will continue throughout 2021, to enrich the infrastructure agenda with ideas and best practice to promote sustainable, resilient, modern, connected and inclusive infrastructures.

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