Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
July 2020

Concept Note for Sustainable Infrastructure Community of Learners

Concept Note for Sustainable Infrastructure Community of Learners

To aid economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, new funding is being pledged globally to support infrastructure construction. Such investments by themselves, however, will not necessarily promote sustainable development. Many past large-scale infrastructure projects in the transportation, energy, and water sectors have had unintended negative impacts on the environment and local communities that outweighed their positive economic and development benefits. Without attention to how infrastructure is developed, construction will continue to follow a business-as-usual path that has, in the past, paid little heed to the broad suite of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is an urgency in building back better, embedding sustainable infrastructure (SI) considerations in projects.

An opportunity exists to significantly accelerate the adoption of sustainable infrastructure by taking advantage of the recent proliferation of capacity development programs and tools. One key to achieving this transformation is the establishment of a learning community among SI capacity resource providers (i.e. those developing and delivering SI capacity resources like courses, tools, standards, or frameworks) and SI capacity resource clients (i.e. those that utilize these resources to create sustainable infrastructure). The mission of this community would be to share information, experiences, and resources globally in order to improve approaches, outcomes, and uptake of SI capacity development.