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Sustainable infrastructure

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THE 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the 2015 UN Summit constitute the most ambitious development agenda approved by the international community. Implementation of these goals will require simultaneous achievement of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

Their implementation depends on: adequate incorporation of the SDGs in national development plans, programmes and projects; access to capital required to finance these; and the capacity — national and international — to implement the plans, programmes and projects.

The greatest challenge is the deployment of adequate financing for implementation of the SDGs. It will require an additional public and private investment of $3 trillion annually in low-carbon energy, agriculture, health, education and other sustainability sectors.

There is a solid economic rationale to prioritise global investment in developing countries.

At least 70 per cent of the additional investment should be in the developing countries. There is a solid economic rationale to prioritise global investment in developing countries, especially since return on investment in developing countries is double and triple that in ‘investment-saturated’ advanced economies.

This investment volume of $3tr is not so daunting when compared to the size of the global GDP ($120tr and growing at 3pc); the world’s stock of financial assets ($300tr, growing at 5pc annually); and available finance (an estimated $10tr locked into negative yielding sovereign debt).

As the 2016 report of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission has noted: “There is no single type of investment (more essential) for the achievement of the SDGs than infrastructure”, which includes........

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