What do governments need to know to plan infrastructure better?



Today, the Institution of Civil Engineers launched a consultation on what governments need to know to plan and prioritise infrastructure better.

The consultation, and its accompanying green paper, are the next iteration of guidance the ICE and partners launched in 2019, the Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme, which sets out twelve principles for prioritising and planning infrastructure.

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, and the ripple effects of rising inflation have further complicated the already complex task of infrastructure planning for governments all over the world.

The consultation seeks insight from policymakers and the stakeholders who support them at every stage of the strategic infrastructure prioritisation and planning process to ensure the new EBI guidance and tools are up-to-date and accessible.

Sir Michael Bear, former Lord Mayor of London, who has chaired the EBI programme from the start said,

“Our vision for the Enabling Better Infrastructure programme was that the guidance we developed would help governments overcome the policy challenges that hold countries back from planning and delivering transformative infrastructure projects. The need for transformative infrastructure has only grown, and we want to engage with the very professionals who will use this guidance and the associated tools to ensure that they are as valuable and applicable as possible.”

The consultation was launched as part of a joint event ICE held with the United Nations Environment Programme earlier today.

The event, Making infrastructure more sustainable: applying policy tools to create impact, explored how to plan infrastructure strategically and sustainably and saw experts share personal insight on applying policy tools in real world scenarios.

Jagoda Egeland, an advisor to the secretary general of the International Transport Forum at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and chair of the green paper’s working group spoke at the event earlier:

“Part of best-practice infrastructure planning and delivery is regularly monitoring outcomes and revisiting strategic objectives to reassess needs and tweak strategies as appropriate.

“Given the changes that the pandemic and other world events have brought about since 2019, it makes sense to revisit, reassess, and tweak the tools we are using to ensure they reflect the experiences of infrastructure planning professionals. Developing a policy tool with direct insight from policymakers will help ensure it continues to be useful to countries, governments and individuals that want to build a more sustainable world.”

Civil servants, civil engineers, infrastructure professionals, private sector investors, researchers, advisory bodies, non-governmental organisations, and anyone involved in the infrastructure planning process is invited to participate in the consultation.

The consultation asks respondents to feedback on three key areas:

  • First, respondents will be asked to share how their government departments have applied a three-stage process within their country to help make the leap from vision to strategy.
  • Second, respondents will be asked to share what supporting guidance they need to support that three-stage process in the best way.
  • Third, respondents will be asked to evaluate a matrix tool that aims to help policymakers and infrastructure professionals determine where their country is in its strategic infrastructure planning journey.

Read the green paper and respond to the consultation here.