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Sustainable Infrastructure

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Mar 11, 2019
Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly
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Sustainable Infrastructure.pdf

Sustainable infrastructure*

The United Nations Environment Assembly,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 66/288 of 27 July 2012, on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled “The future we want”, which calls upon countries to invest in and develop a sound, effective, and efficient economic and social infrastructure that supports sustainable development and creates jobs,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015 on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which recognizes that investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation for all, is a pre-requisite for achieving many goals, and expresses a commitment by countries to facilitate development of sustainable, accessible and resilient quality infrastructure in developing countries through enhanced financial and technical support,

Recalling further General Assembly resolution 71/256 of 23 December 2016 on the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), entitled the “New Urban Agenda”, and highlighting the commitment in paragraph 45 to develop sustainable and inclusive urban economies, building on resource-efficient and resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 70/1 of September 2015, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, and acknowledging Sustainable Development Goal 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation, and considering that the objective of promoting sustainable infrastructure is reflected in other goals and targets,

Recalling also its resolution 2/5 that encourages the United Nations Environment Programme to take action to enhance coordinated, coherent and integrated delivery of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Acknowledging that infrastructure development and operations can have impacts on the environment, ecosystem integrity and quality, human health and efforts for climate change mitigation and adaptation,

Acknowledging that action is needed to generate investment as well as to increase research and sound technologies related to sustainable infrastructure in sustainable infrastructure while addressing potential social and environmental impacts of infrastructure development,

Stressing the importance of spatial planning taking into account all dimensions of sustainable development in future urban development, including through creating greener spaces,

Stressing also the need to bridge the infrastructure and capacity gaps as well as highlighting the opportunities for sustainable investment, particularly in cities,

Recognizing the linkages between sustainable consumption and production and infrastructure and particularly, that fundamental changes in the way that our societies produce and consume goods and services would be positively influenced by sustainable infrastructure, stressing that the whole life cycle of infrastructure planning, construction, maintenance and demolition/replacement should be sustainable,

Stressing the need to develop and maintain infrastructure within a sustainability framework taking into account as appropriate strategic environmental assessment and environmental impact assessment in accordance with national legislation,

Recalling its resolution 2/8 that requests the United Nations Environment Programme to facilitate coordinated efforts in all regions to ensure sustainable consumption and production, invites member states to develop and implement sustainable development policies that promote resource efficiency and resilience and respectively align sectoral policies such as transport, energy, waste, and wastewater management and sustainable buildings and construction, and encourages all countries to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities,

Stressing the importance of sustainable infrastructure to improving resource efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources, consumption and production processes and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste in line with the Agenda 2030 and fostering resilience to climate change, natural disasters and extreme weather events,

Acknowledging that the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including policymakers, the private sector and civil society, and also experts,

Welcoming efforts at various levels to promote sustainable infrastructure through partnerships, forums and other initiatives,

1. Encourages Member States to take the necessary steps to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 9 and related targets in other Sustainable Development Goals, taking into account national capabilities and priorities and recognizing the objective of moving towards sustainable consumption and production patterns;

2. Encourages Member States, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to apply appropriate sustainability criteria to all infrastructures a means to ensure sustainable consumption and production and maintain connectivity of the natural environment, and to collaborate to:

(a) Promote the mobilization, and realignment where applicable, of investments, including through promoting domestic policies to create enabling environment, towards sustainable infrastructure projects;

(b) Continue to support developing countries in partnership to strengthen the scientific, technological and innovative capacity towards the implementation of this resolution in line with the commitment in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda;

(c) Develop and strengthen national and regional systems-level strategic approaches to infrastructure planning, in line with national legislation, including needs assessments, using the best available tools, guidelines, safeguards, and best practices such as environmental impact assessments, strategic environmental assessments, and others and development that incorporate inclusiveness, resilience and environmental sustainability across different sectors, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda;

(d) Promote nature-based solutions as key components of systems-level strategic approaches to infrastructure planning and development;

(e) Build further on existing public-private partnerships and develop innovative approaches, and mutual exchange of expertise relating to sustainable infrastructure;

3. Requests the Executive Director to ensure that the United Nations Environment Programme with its relevant initiatives including, but not limited to, 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns and its programme on building and construction as well as its sustainable public procurement programme continues and strengthens its work to facilitate coordinated efforts in all regions to promote the development and use of appropriate sustainability criteria for infrastructure as a means to attain sustainable consumption and production while maintaining an intact natural environment and implementing the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda, including through:

(a) Promoting existing guidelines and best practices, including social and environmental safeguards, which have been gathered under biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements and multilateral development banks;

(b) Creating and supporting multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms that contribute to open and transparent deliberative processes for generating and sharing knowledge on sustainable infrastructure, to ensure that accurate, timely and relevant information is publicly available and reaches key stakeholders at all levels;

(c) Building on and strengthening existing partnerships for sharing and implementing best practices for increasing the resilience and social and environmental sustainability of infrastructure development;

(d) Developing, within available resources, the capacity of government policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors to use available data, knowledge, tools, approaches, and other mechanisms to incorporate sustainable infrastructure into development and business strategies;

(e) Building on existing initiatives and forge strengthened public-private partnerships to facilitate private investment in sustainable infrastructure subject to available resources;

4. Encourages Member States and stakeholders to share and apply relevant international and national best practices, including on avoiding or, if not possible, mitigating the impact of infrastructure developments;

5. Requests the Executive Director to prepare, building on the work of regional commissions and other relevant UN bodies, a compilation report of best practices drawing on existing initiatives, identify knowledge gaps, to help member states promote and strengthen the sustainability of infrastructure and to report to an Environment Assembly;

6. Encourages Member States and stakeholders, engaging both public- and private-sector interests, to collaborate to initiate and further support existing partnerships and alliances for promoting scientific research and clean technology development to support developing countries towards the transition to a more sustainable infrastructure as well as to find innovative ways of promoting sustainable infrastructure in order to achieve resource efficiency.