Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership

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The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) was started by UN Environment in 2018 as a platform to promote and support integrated approaches to sustainable infrastructure planning and development. Such approaches recognize the centrality of infrastructure to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and can help to deliver optimal social, environmental, and economic outcomes of infrastructure development by considering the complex interlinkages between different infrastructure systems, sectors, phases, governance structures, and aspects of sustainability. In collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership provides knowledge, facilitates international collaboration, and supports capacity building at the country-level to foster systems-level approaches, which more fully exploit the complex interlinkages between infrastructure and the SDGs.

Objectives

The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership has three core goals:

a) raise awareness about the centrality of infrastructure for the 2030 Agenda.

b) develop streamlined normative and technical guidance to scale up the application and the integration of existing tools and approaches in support of different sustainable development priorities.

c) strengthen the technical and institutional capacity of developing countries to adopt and apply upstream, macro-level, integrated approaches to infrastructure development.

Activities

  • Fostering Dialogue: The Partnership has an ongoing series of public events and lectures to raise awareness on the topic of sustainable infrastructure. In 2018, two public lectures were organized: Infrastructure innovations as solutions to Environmental Challenges with Prof. Spiro Pollalis (Harvard University), An evidence-based approach to resilient, sustainable infrastructure with Steven Crosskey (UNOPS) and Scott Thacker (University of Oxford/UNOPS). Furthermore, in March 2018, SIP hosted the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Infrastructure in collaboration with WWF, IUCN and the University of Geneva, followed up in October 2018 with an expert meeting on integrated approaches, co-hosted with Fujian Normal University and University of Geneva. In 2019, SIP co-sponsored an event on the topic Sustainable Infrastructure: Valuing the cost of risks in collaboration with IISD, GEN, the MAVA Foundation, GGKP and Sustainable Finance Geneva.
  • Knowledge products: The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership is launching a series of thematic papers to facilitate knowledge exchange concerning the nexuses between sustainable infrastructure and critical environmental issues. Two briefs were launched in 2018: a) infrastructure-biodiversity nexus, b) infrastructure-climate change nexus. Moreover, a paper describing the results of an initial stocktaking on the centrality of infrastructure and the landscape of existing tools and approaches will be launched in Spring 2019.
  • Country work: Under the umbrella of a GEF-funded project, SIP is launching a Sustainable Infrastructure Working Group composed of 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. In the framework of this project, the Partnership will map major infrastructure development projects, develop normative guidance around integrated approaches to sustainable infrastructure, and support countries in adopting these guidelines.

Partners and stakeholders

The Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership works with a broad network of partner organisations including UNIDO, UNDP, World Bank, OECD, UNECE, UNOPS, IUCN, WWF, and the University of Geneva, ITRC at Oxford University. 

Furthermore, the Partnership actively supports interagency collaboration through the UN Environment Management Group (EMG). On February 26th 2019, it co-organised an EMG Nexus Dialogue as an interagency platform to raise awareness, mobilise expertise and support countries in the implementation of upstream, system-level approaches to infrastructure. Outcomes of this dialogue and further steps will be communicated soon. 

As a contribution to the G20 DWG and in collaboration with ILO, UNDP, UNECE, UNIDO, UNITAR and UNOPS, UN Environment's Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership has recently issued an interagency statement on integrated approaches to the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure for the delivery of the 2030 Agenda.

For more information please contact Rowan Palmer (rowan.palmer@un.org)