The heads of the leading multilateral development banks (MDBs) meeting at the 2018 Global Infrastructure Forum (GI Forum) today reaffirmed their commitment to work together to deliver inclusive, resilient, and sustainable technology-driven infrastructure.
The important role of technology in this goal was at the heart of discussions at the GI Forum under the theme “Unlocking Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Technology-driven Infrastructure”. 2018 marks the first time this annual forum is being held outside of the US. Indonesia’s President Mr. Joko Widodo opened the discussion.
The MDBs agreed that their joint efforts should be based around the following priorities:
- Increase technical assistance and policy advice for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer;
- Disseminate knowledge through collaborative events that support the delivery of bankable, sustainable, and climate-resilient projects;
- Mobilize sustainable, innovative finance at scale, including through the MDB Infrastructure Cooperation Platform;
- Support sustainable public procurement;
- Identify infrastructure and capacity gaps, particularly in least-developed countries; and landlocked developed countries, and small island developing states and African countries.
These priorities are included in the MDBs’ Outcome Statement, issued at the GI Forum and accessible at this link.
The GI Forum gathered private sector investors with representatives from the United Nations, and leaders from the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and the World Bank.
The forum comprised two opening sessions. The first looked at how technology, such as solar energy systems, blockchain, or big data, can be used to make infrastructure more sustainable. The second discussed how to increase private infrastructure finance.
Other sessions looked at using technology to achieve the crucial but difficult “last mile” of getting services to end users, good practices in scaling up investments in infrastructure, ways of financing the global infrastructure gap, and maximizing innovative climate finance for sustainable infrastructure.
The infrastructure needs across the world are huge. An estimated 1 billion people have no access to electricity while over 660 million people have no access to clean drinking water. These needs must be met if the global community is to meet commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. New technologies and approaches such as smart transport systems, big data, or innovative climate finance can all help to fill the infrastructure gap.
A joint report by 13 development bank released in June noted that in 2017, multilateral development banks and development finance institutions mobilized $73.3 billion of long-term private and institutional investor co-financing for infrastructure such as power, water, transportation and telecoms. This compared with $68.7 billion mobilized in 2016.
The full agenda of the Global Infrastructure Forum 2017 is available on the GI Forum’s website, along with other information from past fora and publications and other materials from participating MDBs.