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Infrastructure Policy Watch: measuring India's progress on SDGs, Canada consults on infrastructure priorities

15 June 2021

- Indian Policy Commission ranks sub-national governments on progress against SDGs
- Canada nears the end of its consultation for first National Infrastructure Assessment

Infrastructure Policy Watch: measuring India's progress on SDGs, Canada consults on infrastructure priorities

In this fortnightly blog, ICE's Director of Policy Chris Richards looks at developing policy landscape for infrastructure, what decisions mean, and their implications, so that infrastructure professionals can play their part in shaping the discussion.

Indian government think tank publishes its annual report on progress against the SDGs at the sub-national level

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI), an Indian government policy commission, has published its SDG India Index and Dashboard 2020-21 report on progress against the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the state level in India, its third annual report.

The main theme of this year’s report is ‘partnerships’, with NITI aiming to highlight the pace that can be achieved by working together in pursuit of the goals, as well as shine a light on the quiet but effective partnerships working away in the background.

As part of this, the report sets out actions that have been taken across the 11 areas of the collaborative advantage framework to drive forward progress on SDG indicators.

In the accompanying index, all Indian states and union territories are scored and ranked on each SDG, alongside progress over the year.

Kerala has come out top of the list, with Bihar at the bottom. NITI suggests that having this granular look at performance allows states to look at what they can learn from others, including the partnerships behind the scenes helping to make a difference.

ICE’s view

All countries have signed up to deliver the SDGs by 2030, and 2021 marks the start of the ‘decade of action’. 

Governments have committed to regularly publishing a voluntary national review of progress and submitted this to the UN. NITI’s reports go one step further to look at progress at the sub-national level, enabling a bottom-up approach to tackling challenges. 

Using the SDGs as a framework for tackling entrenched sub-national challenges is something the UK government should consider as it seeks to define its levelling up agenda.  

Infrastructure Canada enters final weeks of consultation on its plans for a National Infrastructure Assessment

First published in March, the Building the Canada We Want in 2050 engagement exercise seeks views on matching the ambition to ‘build 21st-century infrastructure’ with improved strategic infrastructure planning and prioritisation founded on Canada’s first independent National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).

Infrastructure Canada has outlined three priorities for the NIA:

  • Assessing infrastructure needs and establishing a long-term vision.
  • Improving coordination among infrastructure owners and funders.
  • Determining the best ways to fund and finance infrastructure.

The consultation, which closes 30 June 2021, seeks views on the three priorities, alongside suggestions on how best to achieve them.

As part of that process, the Infrastructure Lab, run by Global Public Affairs, organised a roundtable to learn the experience from the UK’s National Infrastructure Assessment, which saw Rachel Skinner, ICE’s President, sharing the institution's views on the subject based on the Enabling Better Infrastructure principles.

ICE’s view

Having a strategic infrastructure planning process is essential. Such a process aims to overcome uncertainty to ensure the infrastructure system delivers sustainable outcomes far into the future.

It is good to see other countries, such as Canada, seeking to establish a robust approach to guide long-term decision making on infrastructure system interventions.

In case you missed it...

Check back in a fortnight for the next edition of the ICE's Infrastructure Policy Watch. You can also sign up to ICE Informs to get a monthly digest of the latest policy activities from ICE, including calls for evidence to support our ongoing advice to policymakers.