What is Sustainable Infrastructure? A Framework to Guide Sustainability Across the Project Cycle

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May 2018
This document presents a framework for both public and private sectors to support planning, designing, and financing of infrastructure that is economically, financially, socially, environmentally, and institutionally sustainable. This document is intended to generate discussion amongst key stakeholders and serve as a basis for research and experimentation within the IDB and with clients; it should be considered as a working document. The purpose of the framework is to enhance clarity, reduce risks, and realize the opportunities that sustainable infrastructure supports inclusive growth and productivity, enhancing coverage and quality of services embodied in the SDGs, and accelerating the transition to low carbon growth and climate resilient economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The framework presents four main principles of sustainability covering economic and financial, environmental, social, and institutional dimensions, and it proposes that each of these needs to be considered across the project cycle including, critically, how upstream policy, legislation, regulations, planning, and organizational capacities contribute to delivering sustainability. Within this framework, the document proposes a menu of over 60 criteria that are important for operationalizing sustainability.