Infrastructure resilience: IFSTTAR makes a contribution to the T20 summit in Tokyo

In May 2019, IFSTTAR and its partners at Université Gustave Eiffel delivered two policy briefs on the infrastructure of the future at the final T20 (Think20) summit in Japan. The aim of these proposals is to provide input for the reflections of the political leaders meeting at the G20.

To inform the discussions of the ministers and heads of state meeting at the end of June 2019 during the G20. This is why IFSTTAR, alongside 400 international experts, was asked to take part in the T20 (Think20). This year, under the presidency of Japan, this commitment group of think tanks and research institutes aimed to produce public policy recommendations for the G20 member countries. “In addition to the Institute’s expert appraisal work in the field of transport infrastructure resilience, this invitation is the outcome of numerous collaborations with our international partners,” recalls Jean-Bernard Kovarik, Managing Director of IFSTTAR and future Vice-President for Public Policy Support at the Université Gustave Eiffel and a contributor to the T20.

Together with other experts from Université Gustave Eiffel’s founding institutions and the Cercle Grand Paris de l’Investissement Durable, IFSTTAR researchers helped draft two policy briefs on the theme of infrastructure.The result of a year of discussions and research, their proposals were presented at the final T20 summit organised at the end of May 2019 in Tokyo, before being brought together in the Communiqué submitted to the G20 political leaders who met a month later in Osaka. The aim was to help them redefine the financing and equitable sharing of the economic, social and environmental value of infrastructure for the common good. “Our work brings together the ideas of engineers, geographers, economists and sociologists in order to better address the complex issue of infrastructure resilience”.

What do these two policy briefs contain? The first, Building resilient infrastructure systems, recommends developing resilience strategies at the level of technical systems and services rendered, harmonising methods for measuring resilience and promoting a socio-political approach to resilience that will facilitate project financing and acceptability. “These topics were addressed from the perspective of climate change, cybersecurity and infrastructure ageing,” explains Jean-Bernard Kovarik, coauthor of the text. The second policy brief, The infrastructure nexus: from the future of infrastructures to the infrastructures of the future, focuses on tomorrow’s infrastructures in terms of economic growth and social progress. In particular, it details the impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity and ecosystem services and the development of sustainable urban agendas and projects with a focus on critical regions such as the Amazon and the Arctic. “This brief draws attention to the need for more balanced and sustainable development in the context of resource constraints and urban growth. All these topics will be pursued in 2020 from the perspective of events that are directly or indirectly linked to the Covid-19 crisis.

These recommendations for a new generation of infrastructure, in line with the major issues discussed at the G20, “are also of interest to financiers and cooperation and development players such as AFD and IRD,” Jean-Bernard Kovarik stresses. “The international network set up in the framework of this research also foreshadows the potential for scientific collaboration at the Université Gustave Eiffel ” he adds.

Jean-Bernard Kovarik, Deputy Managing Director of IFSTTAR and future Vice-President for Public Policy Support at the Université Gustave Eiffel

"Draw attention to the need for more balanced and sustainable development"

Building the future of quality infrastructure

This open-access book, published by the Asian Development Bank (ADBI), contains almost 100 pages of syntheses, policy briefs and discussions from the Tokyo T20 Summit and related events.