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Green Recovery and Finance for Sustainable Infrastructure

2 speakers

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ICSI has published a whitepaper that addresses how public and private sector stakeholders can support the funding necessary to spur a green recovery by sufficiently funding the early stages of infrastructure project development (pre-development) to achieve sustainable outcomes. Integrating sustainable infrastructure investments into government investments in infrastructure, with a specific focus on expected stimulus packages to mitigate the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic, is key to building a sustainable and resilient future. However, only 3-5% of an estimated $12-15 trillion in international COVID-19 stimulus is currently committed to green initiatives. The Coalition for Urban Transitions (CUT) found that only 7% of the total stimulus measured in the Green Stimulus Index has gone to sectors that are relevant for cities, such as energy, transport, and waste. Only 16% of the stimulus going to these sectors is green. Cities may receive support from a variety of partners and funding sources. However, investments from international and local partners are largely focused on backing the right enabling environment or advancing projects to transaction from mid-late pre-feasibility, and later stages. There remains a significant gap between identifying projects for climate action or sustainable development plans, and the ability to bring them to fruition. Investors have capital to invest in urban climate projects, cities have a demand for financing solutions, and some government or multilateral institutions even have specialized capacity-building programs. Nevertheless, projects do not move forward from project concept to financing due to a lack of support at the earliest stages of project preparation. This means that, for the anticipated $90 trillion infrastructure investment needed for the next 15 years, up to $4.5 trillion will be required for project preparation. Without these costs being built in, there is the real risk of lock-in to higher emission pathways. When the full benefits of green infrastructure projects are considered, it may also be possible to account for, or to recover, pre-development costs over the full lifecycle of a project. This session will convene an expert panel to discuss the findings of the whitepaper. It will look at the opportunities for a green recovery and financing of sustainable infrastructure, with a particular focus on pre-development investment and how this relates to cities.