Fostering a Common Approach to Sustainable and Quality Infrastructure
An urgency exists to build sustainable, quality infrastructure to address the world’s infrastructure gap, especially in developing and emerging economies. The solution will require significant new inputs from both the public and private sectors. Two global infrastructure investment initiatives – FAST-Infra’s Sustainable Infrastructure Label (SI Label) and Blue Dot Network Certification – are independently being developed to create market signals that will attract and facilitate private- and public-sector investments in high quality, sustainable infrastructure projects, especially in Middle- and Low-Income Countries (MLICs). Both of these initiatives are built upon available existing guidelines, standards, rating systems, and certifications, with the aim of creating a streamlined, global infrastructure “meta-standard.” The degree to which these two meta-standards will succeed in becoming widely adopted and attracting new investments in sustainable, quality infrastructure will depend on whether they can overcome several critical challenges, including: clarifying the confusion among existing infrastructure standards; facilitating the simultaneous meta-standard adoption by investors, project developers, and client-country governments; and ensuring the MLICs are able to benefit from these meta-standards. The G7 member nations, with their recent pledges to support quality, sustainable infrastructure investments in MLICs through Build Back Better World (B3W), Global Gateway, and Clean Green Initiative, are uniquely well-positioned to catalyze adoption of infrastructure meta-standards. We propose that the G7 build on its Partnership for Infrastructure and Investment Task Force that was established in June 2021 in Carbis Bay to promote meta-standard cooperation and adoption. Specifically, we propose that the G7 Task Force (1) assists with the coordination of requirements, processes, and governance structures between the two recently developed meta-standard initiatives (Blue Dot Network and FAST-Infra); (2) facilitates agreement by development finance institutions from G7 member nations to a common set of meta-standard requirements; (3) supports the development of robust technical assistance and capacity development program for client-country governments and infrastructure developers in MLICs to support infrastructure meta-standard compliance; and (4) convenes a global summit to obtain input, customization, and buy-in on global infrastructure standards from a representative set of creditor and client countries.