Blog |March 06, 2018

Highlights: First GICA Annual Meeting

On January 25 – 26, 2018, the Global Infrastructure Connectivity Alliance (GICA) held its first meeting in Paris at the OECD Headquarters, co-organized by the World Bank and the OECD.

What happens when nearly 150 policy makers, senior government representatives from OECD and developing countries, financial institutions, and practitioners interested in advancing global connectivity gather in Paris for GICA's first annual meeting in Paris? They engage in a rich, comprehensive discussion on the state of play, innovative practices, and the outlook for connectivity.

Private sector participants highlighted the deep and rapid transformation taking place in connectivity, at a sector level (trade, transport, ICT, energy) — as well as across sectors. Innovation and new technologies are unlocking efficiencies within sectors while transforming the complementarities, synergies, and trade-offs across sectors. Concerns over equity in connecting to opportunities and resilience of new interconnected systems (in particular to cyberattacks) also need to be embedded in planning.

GICA members — including People's Republic of ChinaAsian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH), OECDUNCTAD, and World Bank — shared their latest research and findings, to help define new areas of cooperation.

Below, we’ve captured just a few of the discussion highlights from the two-day proceedings. To learn more about the first annual meeting proceedings in Paris, check out the GICA Annual Meeting event page, where you can download the complete meeting summary report and access other meeting materials, including speaker presentations.

Key Takeaways — Day 1

Topics discussed by all attendees on Day 1 centered around how technology and innovation is changing the way we connect, connectivity in the energy, transport, ICT, and finance sectors, and connectivity needs and priorities for GICA. Key takeaways include the following:

  • Connectivity is complex and multidimensional, and therefore solving global connectivity challenges requires interdisciplinary approaches and cross-sectoral collaboration.
  • Global infrastructure connectivity is changing rapidly, driven by new technologies.
  • Governments and multilateral finance institutions play a unique and crucial role in global and regional connectivity, despite the increased emphasis on and importance of private sector financing.
  • The benefits from connectivity are not always evenly spread, and connectivity divides appear to run along the following four key lines: economics, education/skills, gender, and globally interconnected cities and other areas.
  • Connectivity must be not only inclusive, but also sustainable, with climate change issues looming large in the global connectivity dialogue, particularly in power and transport services.
  • Predicting the future of connectivity is challenging. Forecasting — with a degree of accuracy — the timing, trajectory, and impacts on the flow and volume of global flows in people, goods, and services is difficult, and requires further thinking to adjust how we finance investment.

Key Takeaways — Day 2

On Day 2, GICA members and interested contributors reflected during roundtable table discussions on the previous day’s conversations. Several priority areas emerged, which will guide GICA’s next steps. Over the next year, GICA will focus efforts on:

  • Enhancing cross-border and cross-sector institutional cooperation for infrastructure connectivity projects. This cooperation includes:
    • sharing knowledge and experience on multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional planning approaches with sustainable development objectives as a core framework
    • being mindful of technological changes, complementarities, and trade-offs across sectors
    • integrating governance options, regulatory cooperation, and harmonization of technical standards
    • anchoring discussions in a solid understanding of connectivity game changers and options to maximize benefits and minimize negative impacts and risks.
  • Developing methodologies to measure and quantify the overall benefits of connectivity projects of relevant indicators and metrics that help members assess multi-dimensions of connectivity project planning while integrating a balance of national and cross border needs.
  • Enhancing data and monitoring capability, which starts from understanding what data is available, in both the public and private sector, and how to pull that data together with related methodologies for meaningful applications at country and regional levels. It also includes understanding data gaps, in order to determine where data needs to be built up.
  • Identifying and sharing the prioritization processes and approaches already in place for choosing cross-border connectivity projects across GICA members and other relevant actors, and in particular the G20. This includes ways to quantify the costs and benefits of projects in a meaningful way in the context of equitable and sustainable development and their impact on debt sustainability.
  • Identifying new financing schemes that help countries broaden the range of instruments at their disposal to accomplish their overall development goals.
  • Providing a platform for discussion and exchange of knowledge and expertise. Members and contributors reiterated the relevance of GICA, and the role of the GICA Secretariat in stimulating further conversations.

Next Steps

The GICA Secretariat will follow up with GICA members on the priority activities outlined above, to help countries move conversations on complex topics like multilayered connectivity, or economic corridors, while integrating equality and inclusion into connectivity projects.

GICA’s call for action is for all interested organizations and participants to engage through our online platform and contribute to the future work of GICA by sharing ideas, knowledge resources, and information on their own work programs to foster knowledge exchange and collaboration.

For more information about GICA and how to participate in our efforts to support infrastructure connectivity, visit our membership page.



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