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The Sustainable Infrastructure Imperative-Financing for better growth and development

THE 2016 NEW CLIMATE ECONOMY REPORT

Investing in sustainable infrastructure is key to tackling the three central challenges facing the global community: reigniting growth,
delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, and reducing climate risk in line with the Paris Agreement.

A comprehensive definition of infrastructure includes both traditional types of infrastructure (everything from energy to public transport, buildings, water supply and sanitation) and, critically, also natural infrastructure (such as forest landscapes, wetlands and watershed protection).

Infrastructure underpins core economic activity and is an essential foundation for achieving inclusive sustainable growth. It is indispensable for development and poverty elimination, as it enhances access to basic services, education and work opportunities, and can boost human capital and quality of life. It has a profound impact on climate goals, with the existing stock and use of infrastructure associated with more than 60% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Climate-smart, resilient infrastructure will be crucial for the world to adapt to the climate impacts that are already locked-in – in particular, to protect the poorest and most vulnerable people. Ensuring infrastructure is built to deliver sustainability is the only way to meet the global goals outlined above, and to guarantee long-term, inclusive and resilient growth.