By Lawrence Slade, CEO GIIA
Welcome to my first blog of the new decade, and what a decade it promises to be. As we head into the 20’s the challenges for societies and their political leaders around the globe are growing exponentially.
Infrastructure, as never before is at the heart of the debate, and of course remains at the very heart of our everyday lives. Without it, we could not get to work, our phones wouldn’t function – social media would halt, lights would not switch on and water would not run – and of course much, much, more.
There are calls for infrastructure renewal, calls for new infrastructure to cope with growing populations. Rightly there are calls for infrastructure that takes account of climate change, that will help for example the European Union and the United Kingdom meet their 2050 Net Zero targets. There are calls for responsible investment and better ESG standards and reporting. It is a complex picture that varies from region to region and country to country.
Just this week though we started to see how some of this might be achieved with the European Union publishing its Green Deal Investment Plan and Just Transition Mechanism at the heart of which are plans to see €1 trillion invested over this decade. In the UK, following the December election and on the back of positive comments from the Prime Minister we hope to see more details of the UK infrastructure plans in the Chancellors Budget on 11th March this year. Over in the USA it is great to see the National Governors Association taking forward its 2019-2020 Chairs Initiative – Infrastructure: Foundation for Success, under the leadership of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Further afield from Australia to India there are projects and plans aplenty.
But time is not on our side. Infrastructure projects by their very nature do not happen overnight. Yet the challenges faced by society need urgent action so how can this conflict be resolved?
Happily, we do have most if not all the solutions to hand. Companies skilled in delivering massive projects, technical innovation that speeds up project delivery, innovative funding models and an appetite globally to finance new infrastructure. What is missing are the long-term policy frameworks to encourage and support supply chain growth, investment in skills, investor confidence, greater innovation, and faster planning and regulatory approval.
Of course, infrastructure delivery has not always been plain sailing, with unfortunate examples of where things have gone wrong across both public and private sectors. But instead of focusing on the negative and the past, we should learn from these and work together across Governments, regulators and the global infrastructure community to create an environment fit not just for today but for generations to come.
The team at GIIA are determined to push this agenda forward in 2020 around the world – please do get in touch if you would like to become involved in our work – and make sure you register for our upcoming seminar with Ashurst and KPMG on the 18th February and lets start planning for the future.