Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Global Infrastructure Forum 2016 – Opening Plenary

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I want to express my gratitude to the multilateral development banks, and particularly the World Bank, for hosting this inaugural Global Infrastructure Forum, in close cooperation with the United Nations.

In 2015, the international community agreed on an ambitious three-part agenda to transform our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

However, 2015 was only the starting point. 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.

Investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure is a core element of the Addis Agenda. It is a prerequisite for economic development and achieving the sustainable development goals.

Yet the infrastructure financing gap is extremely large. While there have been important efforts to increase infrastructure investment, there is a risk that investment will go to a limited number of countries, and only to sectors with potential positive cash flows.

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.

In the Addis Agenda, countries commit to strengthening their domestic enabling environments and to including infrastructure investment plans in their national sustainable development strategies. They also agree to create stronger incentives for long-term investment and call for inclusive discussions on investment guidelines, including for public-private partnerships, to share risks and rewards fairly.

Finally, the Addis Agenda emphasizes the important role of development banks — both established and new.

The Agenda calls for the establishment of this Forum, to ensure a greater range of voices are heard, particularly those from developing countries. We must ensure the Forum is inclusive. In this regard, a decision to rotate the hosting of the Forum among MDBs is particularly encouraging.

Excellencies,

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, for example during the preparation of this Forum and in the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development. The Task Force report highlights the need to strengthen infrastructure data, including new measures on the quality of infrastructure and its contribution to sustainable development. I am encouraged to see that this Forum is considering these issues.

I look forward to continuing our close working relationship 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.

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