Since its start in February 2015 the Global Infrastructure Think Tank has been growing rapidly. These rapid developments came with growing insights. These developments and insights required an adjustment of name to cover the wider range of activities and to address the challenges ahead. For that reason the Global Infrastructure Think Tank will from now on be called the Global Infrastructure Institute. We also took the opportunity to restyle the website in order to accommodate all changes and to ensure convenient use on all sorts of devices. At www.globalinfrastructureinstitute.org you will see the results of our restyling. We’re certainly interested to get your opinion and feedback on it.
One of the highlights to mention in this transition is that the United Nations adopted a set of Sustainable Development Goals for Infrastructure in September 2015. Our transition allowed us to align all our activities with these Sustainable Developments Goals. This enables us to work in close harmony with a wide group of governmental institutions and other organizations committed to these goals. Read more about that at our new website. We hope to see you at our new address, and we’re certainly looking forward to continue our work under our new name and keep our impact growing in the years to come.
The entire team of the institute.
By Dr Harvey Hill, scholar – We often read about massive losses in human lives and damage to infrastructure, economic output and the environment due to hurricanes, typhoons, Super Storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. Less often do we read about events that produce less damage and fatalities than similar previous events have in the same region. Two examples of this are: 1) The earthquake that struck Chile in 2010 and 2) The tropical cyclones that regularly make landfall in Bangladesh. Why are the impacts Chile and Bangladesh have experienced less devastating now than in the past? Were the countries simply fortunate or have they increased their resilience?
Since 1970 Bangladesh and its international partners have created and iteratively improved its early warning systems, storm shelters and emergency response organizations. Chile has also consistently updated Continue reading
By Dr. Geert Roovers, scholar – In our more and more crowded and connected world adequate and modern infrastructure is a backbone of sustainable development. This infrastructure comprises – for example – transport-infrastructure, pipelines, high-tech cables and energy-assets, often in densely used urbanized areas. As urbanization is rapidly growing, sustainable management of this infrastructure is becoming difficult. First, sustainable management has to deal with growing scarcity of space. Secondly, new technology and interconnected infrastructure, sectors and organizations raise the complexity of management and coordination. This essay elaborates on the opportunities and difficulties of using subsurface infrastructure within this environment. It deals with difficult planning and governance of subsurface infrastructure.
By Tjeerd Burger, young professional – Take a look at this simple map, just taken from Wikepedia, and imagine what could explain the difference in color between the different European countries. And yes, it has to do with infrastructure.
The map represents the different railway electrification systems used in Europe:
750 V DC
1,5 kV DC
3 kV DC
15 kV, 16,7 Hz AC
25 kV, 50 Hz AC
An interesting but somewhat underexposed topic which deserves some attention considering the current discussion in the Netherlands whether to upgrade its system to 3kV. To start, we take a quick look at the history of railway electrification. Electrification of railway lines generally took place in the first half of the 20th century and for various reasons a type of system was chosen in each country. For example, in 1908 the first part of the Dutch railway system between Rotterdam and The Hague was electrified, 10kV (AC) at that time. Later, in 1924, the second line was electrified with a 1,5kV DC system, which became the standard system in the Netherlands. Looking at Europe in general, the 15kV and 25kV AC systems are currently the most widely used systems. Continue reading
By Dr Geert Roovers, scholar – Taking stakeholders into account while making plans helps to increase legitimacy. But in long-term planning involvement of stakeholders encounters severe problems. It encounters problems because of the misfit in planning horizons between asset manager and stakeholders. Furthermore, the ambiguous and indistinct character of stakeholders’ ambitions makes successful participation difficult. This article explores ways to deal with this problematic nature of stakeholder participation in long-term planning within modern water infrastructure asset management.
Following theory, this article presents a typology with four types of possible styles for asset management which also gives rise to specific forms of stakeholder participation: (1) monofunctional – asset manager realizes the main function of its assets and manages them with only an eye on the principle core function of the asset; (2) integrated – asset manager realizes an integral approach of its assets, and manages them with this integral approach in mind; (3) accommodating – asset manager realizes the main function of its assets but accommodates other functions as well; and (4) learning – asset manager is responsible for the main function of its assets, but invites stakeholders to participate, intertwine other functions and to manage, explore and develop the system jointly. Continue reading
By David Baxter, sr. fellow – Recently I co-presented a PPP workshop in Nay Pyi Taw the capital of Myanmar. The workshop was sponsored by the Dutch Government and was hosted by the Government of Myanmar. Twenty-four senior officials, from different ministries, participated enthusiastically in all activities associated with the workshop.
The source of their enthusiasm was their desire to prepare their ministries and the Government of Myanmar for infrastructure PPPs, especially in water projects in the Irrawaddy River Delta, its upstream navigation channels, and irrigation and dam projects.
The recent political and economic changes in Myanmar are creating a climate conducive to foreign investment. The Government hopes to harness this enthusiasm and attract FDI in large public works and infrastructure through PPP, the most popular forms being BOTs and DBMOTs.
Myanmar has faced difficulties in implementing large infrastructure projects since the changes that were heralded in 2011. Both the Dawei Port Project and the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project have faced challenges. However, investment continues to flow into Myanmar. Since 2103 FDI investments have exceeded US$2.2 billion according to UNCTAB.
By Dr. Geert Roovers, scholar – In our more and more crowded and connected world adequate and modern infrastructure is a backbone of sustainable development. This infrastructure comprises – for example – transport-infrastructure, pipelines, high-tech cables and energy-assets, often in densely used urbanized areas. As urbanization is rapidly growing, sustainable management of this infrastructure is becoming difficult. First, sustainable management has to deal with growing scarcity of space. Secondly, new technology and interconnected infrastructure, sectors and organizations raise the complexity of this management.
This essay elaborates on the chances and difficulties of using subsurface infrastructure within this environment. It deals with difficult planning and governance of subsurface infrastructure. It consists of two parts. This first part deals with three main challenges of subsurface planning of urban infrastructure. What are they and why are they difficult to deal with? The second part of this essay will elaborate on promising directions to deal with these challenges. The second part will address some important research questions which rise from these directions.
Scarcity of space
Scarcity of space is growing, especially in Delta’s, where in 2050 75% of the world’s population is expected to live in urbanized environments. This urbanization enlarges the spatial claim of infrastructure. Subsurface infrastructure makes multi-level use of space possible. It provides opportunities for sustainable development, reducing the use of space and providing opportunities for sustainable construction. But there are more claims on the subsurface. Continue reading
By David Baxter, senior fellow – Next week I will be presenting two workshop sessions at the Istanbul PPP Summit, which is being held between the 2nd and the 5th of November. The sessions will be focused on institutional capacity building (institutional preparedness) and risk management.
While preparing for the two workshop sessions and researching the context of PPPs in Turkey, I read about the plans under way to increase road crossings across the Bosphorus so that connectivity between European and Asian Turkey can be improved. This includes the North Marmara highway and Bosphorus Bridge project.
It was rather serendipitous that while I was doing my research that an article appeared in last Sunday’s Washington Post (18th of October) about the controversial Mid-Town Tunnel PPP project in Hampton Roads Virginia. This is an interesting case study, with lessons learned, that developers of new PPP bridges and tunnels projects that could compete with existing and future tunnels should heed, especially regarding guaranteed toll fees and difficult to project usage. Continue reading
Without PPP no 821250 Million liters of Water to meet SDG6
By Jan van Schoonhoven – The numbers are staggering; according to the United Nations latest count: 750 million people lack access to drinking water. Sustainable Development Goal number 6 strives for water for all; realizing that the challenge is enormous.
The problem is clear?
Under the guidance of the UN many organizations are discussing the magnitude of the problem and in many cases point to the private sector. A short internet survey brought up over 200 reports on the current challenges, the number of people, the financing gap, and the countries in need and the effect it has on people and economy; the same survey gave no real report on how to solve the issue. The challenge the world is facing today is not the problem of why water for all is important; enough is said about that. The real challenge is to discuss solutions and a shift of thinking of the main organizations to understand the magnitude of the challenge and ways to solve. The current approach is still much talking, small-scale solutions and concentrating on the problem. Continue reading
By Dr. Peter Kamminga – In negotiations over the use of water resources, a zero-sum approach (meaning gains to one party are always balanced by losses to others) is generally taken. However, if the stakeholders in (boundary crossing) water projects set as their goal that they ought to try to meet the objectives of the various stakeholders simultaneously, there is a chance they will be able to invent ingenious ways of stretching resources or using the same resources in a number of different ways so that the interests of all parties can be met. How to do this is discussed in Dealing with complex water negotiations: adopting a non-zero sum approach.
Kamminga, Cecchi Dimeglio and Susskind explain why agreements over water can best be achieved by organizing informal problem-solving forums that enable water users and water network managers to move from zero-sum to non-zero sum thinking. They use actual examples in which these techniques have been applied. They describe how such problem-solving forums ought to be organized and how to increase the chances they will be successful. Continue reading