Global Issues & ODA

September 19, 2017
UN General Assembly High-Level Side Event 1
UN General Assembly High-Level Side Event 2
UN General Assembly High-Level Side Event 3

On 19 September at the United Nations in New York, Japan, the European Union and the United Nations co-hosted a High-Level Side Event on “Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investments”. The summary of the meeting is as follows.

1. Overview

(1) In the opening session, the co-hosts, H.E. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, H.E. Mr. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development and H.E. Ms. Grete Faremo, Executive Director of UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services) made keynote speeches. Minister Kono, in his keynote speech, highlighted the importance of “quality infrastructure” for achieving sustainable development. Minister Kono also described Japan’s efforts in promoting quality infrastructure such as the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” and the “Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure”, while emphasizing the importance of standardizing the concept of “quality infrastructure” internationally and building international rules that help mobilize private finance which is indispensable to increase capital for quality infrastructure investments. Commissioner Mimica stated that infrastructure is essential for sustainable development, and that quality infrastructure is important not only for achieving the goal 9, but all the goals of SDGs. Executive Director Faremo, introducing the examples of climate change and natural disasters, stressed the necessity of resilient infrastructure.

(2) The following panelists participated in the ensuing panel discussion: Mr. Kentaro Sonoura, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan; Mr. Nicholas O’Regan, Director, Infrastructure and Project Management Group, UNOPS; Mr. Amadou Hott, Vice-President, African Development Bank; Mr. Xianbin Yao, Special Senior Advisor to the President, Asian Development Bank; Prof. Arvind Panagariya, Professor of Columbia University (former Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog, India); Mr. Dave McAlister, Global Director, Transport and Infrastructure, WSP; Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission (moderator). In his presentation, Mr. Sonoura described specific examples of “quality infrastructure” such as the “Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway Project” and emphasized the importance of promoting “quality infrastructure” as an international standard. Professor Panagariya, based on his experience as the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog, introduced infrastructure projects in India, including those collaborated with Japan, such as Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway Project and Delhi Metro, while other panelists noted the importance of life-cycle costs, priority setting, and capacity building. From the floor, a Minister of Uganda, representatives from the European Investment Bank and UN-Habitat made a statement.

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  • Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Sonoura’s presentation (English (PDF)Open a New Window)

2. Assessment

A wide range of participants in the field of infrastructure investments, including those from both developed and developing countries, UN organizations, Multinational Development Banks and private firms, shared their efforts concerning “quality infrastructure” investments and came to an understanding on the importance of promoting “quality infrastructure” internationally.

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