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Bridging the infrastructure gap to achieve the SDGs

“2015 witnessed unprecedented cooperation among the United Nations, the World Bank Group and other development banks. In 2016 we are continuing to deepen this cooperation,” said Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General, as he addressed the opening of the inaugural Global Infrastructure Forum 2016, jointly organized by key development partners in infrastructure and multilateral development banks (MDBs) on 16 April.

Leaders of the MDBs – the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and the World Bank Group – as well as development partners and representatives of the G20, G24, and G77, along with representatives from the United Nations gathered in Washington to discuss how to attract more resources for infrastructure and improve the sustainability, accessibility, and quality of infrastructure.

Access to basic infrastructure services remains  a concern in many countries, with more than 660 million people still lacking access to safe drinking water, while sixty percent of the world’s population live without Internet access. During the event, many stakeholders, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Mr. Wu, underscored the critical role of infrastructure in the fields of competitiveness, job creation, eradication of poverty and economic growth.

“More needs to be done to ensure that: 1) all infrastructure investment is resilient and sustainable; and 2) all countries have access to the necessary financing and technical expertise,” underscored Mr. Wu.

The MDBs and UN-DESA also organized a series of break-out sessions. UN-DESA’s session on Perspectives from New Development Finance Institutuions included interventions from the Asian Infrastructure Bank, the New Development Bank, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). The Forum is one of the major deliverables of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was created to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation, and work to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

“Now is the time for action. Today’s launch of the Global Infrastructure Forum, as called for in the Addis Agenda, is a step toward implementation,” said Mr. Wu, also sharing how he looks forward to continue working closely on all aspects of the FfD Agenda.

“Only by working together can we achieve our ambitious global goals and end poverty in all its forms,” Mr. Wu said.

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