Climate action must be integrated into infrastructure development, says UNOPS

Climate action

Climate action must be inclusive, rights-based and integrated into infrastructure development to support the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, according to UNOPS latest research.

A new report by UNOPS finds that inclusive infrastructure influences the achievement of up to 88 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals. It calls for an approach to climate action infrastructure that identifies and responds to marginalisation, socio-economic inequalities and climate vulnerabilities.

The authors propose five principles of inclusive infrastructure, and call for infrastructure that is equitable, accessible, affordable and empowering, while respecting the “do no harm” principle.

Published by UNOPS, the report features expert insights from 10 non-governmental organizations that work directly with marginalized people and communities across the world. Based on these, it offers recommendations to develop climate action infrastructure that is equitable, accessible, affordable, empowering and does no harm.

The report finds that inclusive infrastructure influences the achievement of up to 88 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals and calls for an approach to infrastructure that identifies and responds to marginalisation, socio-economic inequalities and climate vulnerabilities

Speaking about the report, UNOPS acting executive director Jens Wandel said: “When infrastructure is inclusive, it empowers all people to have a good quality of life, fully participate in society and be more resilient to climate change impacts.” 

According to the research, women and marginalized groups are estimated to make up more than 80 per cent of the global population and are therefore the majority of infrastructure users. Yet current infrastructure solutions, particularly in the context of climate change and climate disasters, fail to meet their specific needs.  

By examining the barriers that many people face – including discrimination and social exclusion, physical barriers and lack of safety, prohibitive costs and requirements, limited access to information, and lack of access to decision-making – the publication identifies ways to mainstream inclusion in climate-compatible infrastructure development. This includes identifying seven action areas and 24 recommendations that governments and other stakeholders can use to deliver inclusive infrastructure for climate action.

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