Although US-China trade dispute drew much of attention during the recent G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 30 November and 1 December, there was an important agreement among G20 leaders on the future of work and infrastructure development. A declaration was adopted endorsing the Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class and the G20 Principles for the Infrastructure Project Preparation Phase.¹
The agreed Principles consist of a list of critical aspects that need to be carefully examined in preparing infrastructure projects, categorized under five dimensions: (i) project rationale; (ii) options appraisal; (iii) commercial viability; (iv) affordability, and (v) deliverability. The G20 leaders further emphasized the need to develop an operational project preparation platform to support the implementation of the Principles: “a multilateral online infrastructure project preparation software platform can be particularly instrumental for improving consistency, quality, transparency and accountability of business case analysis”.
The global development community, in fact, already has this platform – SOURCE – an online project formulation and information dissemination tool,² developed through an unprecedented collaboration between international finance institutions and the private sector, with the very objective of developing a global platform to deliver the knowledge and standards to project developers. The development of SOURCE by a not-for-profit organization, Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF) is supported by multilateral development banks, including Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group. SOURCE is now housed at the United Nations International Computing Centre to ensure security and safety of information.
SOURCE covers the whole project lifecycle from project preparation to implementation, covering all aspects related to governance, technical, economic, legal, financial environmental and social, hereby encompassing the five G20 Principles aspects. SOURCE’ sector-specific templates are currently being expanded, and will be fully consistent with the Principles.
It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel to implement the G20 Principles. Expanded use of SOURCE is an option for the countries and the organizations that are keen to support sustainable infrastructure investment in developing countries.
1 G20 Leader’s declaration: Building consensus for fair and sustainable development: http://www.g20.utoronto.ca/2018/buenos_aires_leaders_declaration.pdf