Leveraging Infrastructure Investments for Sustainable Development

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Asia Pacific cities are now home to 2.3 billion population. With 1.2 billion new residents expected to be added between now and 2050, significant investments in infrastructure are needed to create more livable and resilient cities.

CDIA is working with secondary cities to prepare sustainable and bankable infrastructure projects to help them meet the current and future needs of their citizens.

From 2007 to 2019, CDIA has leveraged about $11.2 billion worth of investments from its completed project preparation studies (PPSs), already exceeding its 2022 target of $10 billion. These investments are now making headway in enhancing livability in Asia Pacific cities, stimulating economic growth and improving the environment.

“While most of our engagement with cities takes place in the early phase, our team always keeps the ‘big picture’ of sustainable development in mind,” says Neil Chadder, CDIA Program Manager. “We make sure that every water supply system we help set up or every bus lane we design will have a positive impact on the well-being of people.”

Integrating sustainable development in project preparation

CDIA ensures that each PPS and its resulting interventions contribute to at least two of the following development impacts: climate change mitigation or adaptation, environmental improvement, poverty reduction and good governance.

An analysis of all PPSs since 2007 suggests that CDIA maintains a particularly strong focus on environmental improvement and climate change mitigation or adaptation. This is due to the fact that CDIA has been doing more PPSs in wastewater management, flood and drainage management and urban transport sectors.

CDIA’s Initial Development Impact Assessment (IDIA), a project monitoring tool further suggests that 9 of the 10 PPSs completed in 2019 are anticipated to improve the environment. These projects are designed to protect surface water and ground water resources, reduce water-borne diseases and improve the treatment of household wastewater, among others.

The IDIA also indicates that 7 of the 10 PPSs will help cities adapt to the impacts of climate change. Meanwhile, all 10 completed PPSs should encourage good governance, particularly when it comes to better customer/client orientation of city services; and participation of various stakeholders in decision making and planning.

Finally, majority of the completed PPSs in 2019 anticipate improved access to basic infrastructure and the equitable distribution of public services. These will have significant impacts on poverty reduction efforts.

Aligning cities with Sustainable Development Goals

CDIA also monitors each project to ensure that it fully supports the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the local level.

Considering that CDIA’s work is focused on cities, every PPS the CDIA team works on is expected to contribute to the achievement of SDG 11, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and correspondingly to the attainment of one or more of SDG 11 sub-goals.

CDIA also pursues projects that can contribute to other SDGs such as SDG 13, which aims to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, SDG 6 which aims to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all” and SDG 1, which aims to “end poverty in all its ways and forms.”

“By developing well-prepared and bankable projects, we can not only aim to help close the infrastructure-financing gap, but also support cities strengthen their development outcomes and create a better future for their people,” says Neil.

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