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Press release

Enabling Better Infrastructure: ICE-led guidance for governments updated

18 January 2024

Today, the Enabling Better Infrastructure programme, led by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), published updated guidance for governments to improve their strategic infrastructure planning. 

The new guidance was launched at an event hosted by EBI-partner Pinsent Masons MPillay in Singapore entitled, Improving how we strategically plan infrastructure for a nature and people positive world. 

ICE President Professor Anusha Shah spoke at the event, and emphasised how strategic forward planning is an integral part of meeting climate and economic goals. She said, 

"To develop nature and people positive infrastructure, governments around the world need to prioritise policy solutions based on lessons learned and global best-practice. The Enabling Better Infrastructure programme brings together independent, diverse specialists with wide-ranging expertise so we can form connections and learn from each other."

What is EBI? 

Convened by the ICE, the EBI programme helps governments see beyond short-term uncertainties to develop stable, sustainable, and investable project pipelines to meet current and future needs. 

Originally launched in 2019 with 12 guiding principles, the updated guidance simplifies these principles into eight, and aims to be more accessible for infrastructure decision-makers.  

The new guidance also introduced a three-step process for building an evidence-supported infrastructure strategy, and a gap assessment tool to help civil servants and other professionals identify where governments need to upgrade their infrastructure decision making process.   

How and why was the guidance updated? 

The world has changed since 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a lasting economic impact, and the effects of climate change are being more widely felt. 

In 2024, many countries will hold elections, meaning many will reevaluate policies and projects as part of regular election cycles. The challenging economic situation will raise questions for many governments and political campaigns about priorities and the affordability of infrastructure investment. 

Against this backdrop, there was a natural opportunity to revisit the EBI principles. 

To update the guidance and develop the three-step process and gap assessment tool, the ICE held three public consultations to understand how strategic infrastructure planning has changed over the last four years. 

Singapore’s example is one the world can follow 

The original EBI guidance was launched in seven cities, but ICE selected Singapore to host the exclusive launch of the new guidance as it is a best-in-class example of the positive impact of strategic planning. 

Chris Richards, director of policy at the ICE said,

 "EBI is designed to help governments plan infrastructure more strategically, not unlike how the Singapore government has done with its national assessments. Singapore is also world-leading when it comes to the use of nature-based solutions, an approach that every infrastructure decision maker should be incorporating."

Several examples of positive strategic planning were highlighted at the event including Singapore’s vision to become a ‘garden city’ and the commitment to increase spending on flood protection. 

Jim Hall to chair ICE steering group 

In addition to launching the new guidance, it was also announced Professor Jim Hall, ICE senior vice president and professor of climate and environmental risks at the University of Oxford will chair the EBI steering group going forward, taking over from Sir Michael Bear. 

Professor Hall said,

"To address the climate crisis, we need to change how we think about infrastructure in the long term. Sustainability needs to be embedded in our planning and delivery processes at the outset, at both a regional and national level. I look forward to working with the EBI partners to improve infrastructure planning for many people and places."

Sir Michael Bear, who has led the EBI steering group since its inception, said,

"I am so proud of what we have already accomplished with the Enabling Better Infrastructure programme.and look forward to seeing the talented and knowledgeable experts who have contributed make further progress with the leadership of Professor Jim Hall. Purposeful, well-planned infrastructure is key in addressing many challenges we face and the EBI programme is a powerful tool for decision makers who want to improve their processes and outcomes."

 Notes to editors

Please contact press office [email protected] for more information. 

  • Phoebe Woollard, media relations executive at ICE