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Infrastructure blog

A detailed look at ICE’s Enabling Better Infrastructure programme

17 December 2019

During the past two weeks, the ICE has put a significant amount of effort into launching its new Enabling Better Infrastructure programme around the world. To date there have been seven separate launch events in five different continents. Here I examine the detail behind the key aims of the programme.

A detailed look at ICE’s Enabling Better Infrastructure programme
Enabling better infrastructure

As previously detailed through our Infrastructure Blog, the primary outputs of the programme include a report, that outlines 12 guiding principles for prioritising and planning infrastructure, and a resource hub that showcases examples of international best practice across the breadth of the infrastructure delivery cycle.

The purpose of both of these is to direct national governments and key decision-makers towards potential solutions to the challenges that they are facing in developing and delivering effective infrastructure strategies.

But, how exactly do they do this?

The 12 guiding principles for prioritising and planning infrastructure

The principles relate to a range of insights gathered from interviewing decision-makers and practitioners both from the UK and internationally. Taken together, these form a useful reference tool for improving infrastructure provision primarily at the national level.

The initial principles refer to the need to identify the strategic objectives that infrastructure can contribute to - be they economic, social or environmental. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are drawn upon in this context to highlight the significant role that infrastructure can play in their realisation.

Progressing through the principles, the next set relates to positioning infrastructure within the context of a wider national vision. This includes determining what is required across a nation’s infrastructure networks to achieve that vision, supported by advice on how to put together a comprehensive and long-term strategy to enable this to happen.

Other principles set out the advantages of undertaking a form of cost-benefit analysis for project selection that avoids fixating on lowest capital cost and instead seeks to achieve long-term value. Engaging the private sector to ensure that a national infrastructure strategy is affordable is also identified as a guiding principle, as are engaging the public on their priorities and backing-up key investment decisions with the use of quality data.

The resource hub

The primary goal of the resource hub is to facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of good ideas, rather than be overly prescriptive. After all, it is important to recognise that the different political and economic systems that exist around the world mean that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach will not suffice.

The hub contains case studies that have been sourced from a range of governments, delivery bodies and other organisations allied to the infrastructure planning and delivery environment.

Unlike the report, the hub covers best practice from right across the infrastructure lifecycle. Taking in prioritisation and planning, it also includes examples related to project preparation, delivery, operation and finally project decommissioning.

The objective for 2020 is to continue to populate the resource hub with useful and interesting content. If you would like to contribute, then do get in touch!

Engaging with these outputs

Feedback from our programme launch events has been overwhelmingly positive. There is clearly appetite for what we are doing. However, the critical next step is to build on this momentum and to ensure that it is not lost.

The ICE team, along with our project partners, are already busy planning activities for next year to ensure that this happens. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing programme then please get in touch.

  • Ben Goodwin, lead policy manager at ICE