The Solutions Lab – Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure

The Solutions Lab

Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure

Sustainable infrastructure is globally recognized as key to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Over the last years, more and more strategies, policies and tools have been developed to unleash this potential for sustainable development. Yet, public and private sector still struggle to put in place infrastructures that meet the four principles of sustainability: economic and financial, environmental, social and institutional. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic again underlined the weaknesses of existing infrastructure systems: a lack of basic health and sanitation facilities, inadequate transportation and energy networks and insufficient digital infrastructure still affect the well-being of billions of people.

To analyze what hinders the broad uptake of sustainable infrastructure solutions and to identify approaches that can be scaled across regions, the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) and GIZ jointly launched The Solutions Lab – Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure in October 2019.


3 Meetings

The Solutions Lab consisted of three meetings in Berlin, Mexico City and “Milan Online”. The community also reached out to various stakeholder groups, including a group of Mexican Mayors to test the merit of its solutions, and provided interventions on pressing issues such as the importance of infrastructure to “building back better” in the wake of COVID-19.


28 Change Agents

The Lab brought together 28 experts from academia, policy, finance and infrastructure development in a multi-stakeholder process. This effort to break-up sectoral and institutional siloes set the tone for work in the Lab and is captured by its Call to Action for a new, holistic paradigm in sustainable infrastructure delivery.


15 Countries

Sustainable infrastructure development remains a challenge everywhere. Yet, to successfully scale up solutions across the world, they need to be contextualized and stand the test of local applicability. This is why it proved invaluable to assemble diverse experiences, perspectives and know-how from around the globe.

Our Work

The Lab community has established several workstreams through which it channels its efforts to scale solutions, including (1) on Integrated Upstream Planning, (2) on Sustainable Infrastructure Project Preparation and (3) on Gender-Responsive Infrastructure.

Integrated Upstream Planning

To achieve the Global Goals, we need a paradigm shift towards more holistic and sustainable infrastructure development. We developed recommendations on how integrated upstream planning approaches can play a crucial role to advance sustainable infrastructures around the world.

Sustainable Infrastructure Project Preparation

Project preparation is a key moment along the infrastructure lifecycle to successfully integrate sustainability considerations. We developed guidance for project preparation officials to support the development of sustainable and bankable project pipelines that attract private investors, contribute to closing the global infrastructure service gap and align with sustainable development objectives.

Gender-Responsive Infrastructure

Against the widespread perception that infrastructure is gender-neutral, we worked to foster truly inclusive infrastructure development. To make public services more responsive to everyone’s lives, it is critical to systematically assure meaningful participation of women and consideration of their demands across each stage of the infrastructure lifecycle.

Our Call to Action (Preview)

Towards a New, Holistic Paradigm for Sustainable Infrastructure Delivery 

Interested in Learning More?

The Results Booklet

"The Solutions Lab - Scaling for Sustainable Infrastructure"

Explore our Results Booklet to learn more about the process of The Solutions Lab, its methodology, participants, meetings and results.

GSI Global Table

"COVID-19 & the Reinforced Case for Sustainable Infrastructure Development"

Watch the contributions of our participants on how to mobilize infrastructure investments as catalysts for net zero & SDG delivery.

Think20 Policy Briefs

"Integrated Upstream Planning", "Sustainable Urban Infrastructure" & "COVID-19 Response"

Our Lab participants joined forces with external experts to write three policy briefs to inform G20 discussions in Riyadh and beyond. 


Should you be interested in learning more about the Solutions Lab, please reach out to:

Ms. Vanessa Bauer
  +49 6196 79-7424




Implementing Partners: