A Global Solutions Summit ‘Global Table’ on COVID-19 & Sustainable Infrastructure


A Global Solutions Summit ‘Global Table’ on COVID-19 & Sustainable Infrastructure

Sustainable Infrastructure

A Global Solutions Summit ‘Global Table’ on COVID-19 & Sustainable Infrastructure

The outbreak of the viral COVID-19 pandemic has brutally exposed weaknesses in existing infrastructure systems: “grey infrastructure” expansion and the associated destruction of ecosystems facilitate the spread of zoonotic diseases, whilst excessive reliance on just-in-time value chains increases our vulnerability to any global shocks. At the same time, sustainable infrastructure poised to be front and center of any successful response to the crisis: Whilst in the short-term, investments in infrastructure have proved critical to economic recovery and job creation, the delivery of key public services from health infrastructure to water and sanitation facilities will increase resilience toward pandemics in the long-term. With 75% of all infrastructure predicted to exist by 2050 not yet built, governments must seize the opportunity of stimulus packages to set the world on a zero emissions path toward SDG delivery.

In 2019, GIZ and the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) jointly launched The Solutions Lab: Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure. The Lab brings together 28 experts from 15 countries to identify sustainability solutions that can be scaled across regions. Participants have been vocal in the global debate on what role infrastructure played in the spread of COVID-19 and offered actionable advice on how governments can use infrastructure investments to bounce back better and greener. Most recently, the Lab contributed a panel on “COVID-19 & the Reinforced Case for Sustainable Infrastructure Development: Mobilizing Infrastructure Investments as Catalysts for Net Zero & SDG Delivery” to the Digital Global Solutions Summit.


Watch the Panel Discussion from the Global Table below:

For all Global Table recordings, including two Keynotes and several “Vision Statements”, please refer to the Digital Global Solutions Summit via this link.


We would like to thank the following speakers for their contribution:

Keynote I:

Mr. Amar Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Keynote II:

Ms. Heike Henn, Director for Climate policy and Climate Financing, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


Ms. Aziza Akhmouch, Head of Cities, Urban Policy & Sustainable Development, OECD

Mr. Ryan Bartlett, Director of Climate Risk & Resilience, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)

Mr. Nobert Gorißen, Deputy Director General, International Policy, Federal Ministry or the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

Mr. Tetsushi Sonobe, Dean, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)


Ms. Lori Benita Kerr, Senior Infrastructure Finance Specialist, Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF)


Here are Some of the Key Lessons we Learned from the Global Table:

  1. “Grey Infrastructure” is not fit for Purpose. We need Investments into Sustainable Infrastructure at Scale to deliver on the Global Goals and Protect Communities’ against Future Pandemics
  2. We need holistic Planning Approaches which align Development Strategies with SDG Delivery and Climate Action. Integration of Cities and a Focus on Public Goods Delivery are critical to Success!
  3. COVID-19 will strain Public Budgets in the long-run. To “Build Back Better”, we need Revenue Models and Capacity-Building that crowds-in Private Capital, especially in Low-Income Countries!
  4. Shovel-Ready Investments in Sustainable Infrastructure are Front and Center of any Successful Response to COVID-19. We need to think “grey and green”, “big and small”, “public and private”
  5. Fighting a Global Pandemic requires Global Action: By centering stimulus packages around a “green jobs program”, building capacities for integrated and multi-level infrastructure planning, and by supporting standardization on sustainable infrastructure investments and sustainable finance, the G20 can deliver on promises of a much-needed Green Recovery.

Please find an extended report on the Global Table here.


Working on similar topics? Want to learn more about The Solutions Lab?

As co-hosts of The Solutions Lab: Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure, the Emerging Markets Sustainability Dialogues (EMSD) of GIZ have been working as an incubator and knowledge platform for sustainable infrastructure solutions in and with emerging markets since 2014. To regularly test ideas developed in the Solutions Lab, we organize outreach events with a wide range of stakeholders, most recently a group of Mayors in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Please feel free to reach out to us via the contact info below:

Contact: john.hauert@giz.de / vanessa.bauer@giz.de

Website: www.emsdialogues.org/solutions-lab