IDB 2017 Sustainability Report underlines the urgency of sustainable Infrastructure investment

MENDOZA, Argentina ‒ The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched its new Sustainability Report, featuring its priority work during 2017 in sustainable cities and infrastructure, social and environmental safeguards, natural capital, sustainable islands and climate change.

In operations, the IDB Group financed more than $4.3 billion in activities related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, representing 28 percent of project approvals by volume for the year.  The Bank’s new climate change action plan, also mentioned in the report, describes systematically how the IDB Group is including components in its operations in order to meet the goal, set by the Board of Governors, of having 30 percent of approvals related to climate change by 2020.

“We changed our organizational structure to put sustainability at the center of our operations,” said Juan Pablo Bonilla, Manager of the IDB’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector.  “Our goal is to help guide Latin America and the Caribbean toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.”

Sustainable infrastructure is one of the report’s principal topics, with a special in-depth section in this year’s version.  Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be the least income-equal region in the world.  The growth of cities and the population at large brings with it an imperative for infrastructure, requiring the need to mobilize an estimated $90 trillion in financing for new projects worldwide by 2030.

The report outlines measures that the IDB has taken to improve its capacity to develop sustainable infrastructure projects, among them a standardized definition of the concept together with a framework for project execution.  During the year, the Bank published a study that summarizes a variety of types of conflict arising among stakeholders during the various phases of sustainable infrastructure project design and implementation. Another Bank publication cited in the report, Crossing the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Investing, prepared jointly with the consulting firm Mercer, identifies the keys to overcoming barriers to reducing the financing gap for priority projects.

If the countries of the region are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfill their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, they will need to take into account a sustainable infrastructure framework that focuses the economic and financial aspects of investment, as well as the environmental, social and institutional considerations that will lead to the creation of cities and communities that are low in carbon and climate-resilient. 

About the IDB 

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.