From the outside, infrastructure projects may seem to be a relatively uncomplicated sort of development endeavor – what could seem simpler, at first blush, than putting up a wall or extending a road across a plain? This is, of course, an illusion. Things don’t just build themselves, and these projects often confront unexpected delivery challenges. Whether they involve building bridges, providing water services, or constructing dams, a plethora of delivery challenges from stakeholder engagement issues to bad weather to armed conflict can hamper and hold back even well-planned efforts.
The Global Delivery Initiative has delved into the delivery challenges that confront infrastructure projects in the past. GDI’s 2018 annual conference was devoted to delivery challenges in infrastructure. And a number of recent case studies have examined infrastructure projects in a variety of sectors.
Now a collaboration with the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF) will harness insights from that work to help practitioners plan better infrastructure projects. SIF is dedicated to managing SOURCE, a multilateral platform for quality infrastructure which is led and funded by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). The platform “provides a comprehensive map of all aspects to consider for the development of quality and sustainable infrastructure, covering governance, technical, economic, legal, financial, environmental and social issues.” SOURCE is currently being used by over 3200 government practitioners, and includes 325 projects in 59 countries.
“GDI and SOURCE share common objectives: leverage the collective experience and knowledge of MDBs to help project owners make informed decisions, and prepare better projects,” noted Cédric van Riel, Integration Manager at SIF.
The SIF joined GDI in 2019, and SOURCE now integrates GDI’s delivery challenges into its platform. Users will be able to see potential delivery challenges based on geographical location and sector of their projects, helping them be better-prepared should they have to confront such challenges. The platform will also link SOURCE users to GDI resources, such as relevant case studies.
“SOURCE is a relatively young platform (it was launched in 2016),” explained van Riel. “Integrating a module directly connected to the GDI was therefore an excellent opportunity to tap into the massive database of projects of the World Bank [and other GDI partners] to provide information to SOURCE’s users.”
GDI and SIF look forward to continuing to work together. “We always welcome the opportunity to share GDI’s insights with practitioners who can then use these products to inform and improve interventions,” notes Debra Ladner, who leads the GDI team at the World Bank. “At GDI, we are really delighted that insights from our data will be reaching the government practitioners using SOURCE.”
Moreover, as SOURCE’s users tap into GDI resources, this will help to better understand how users derive value from these resources, and to continue to adapt moving forward.
Ultimately, by preparing SOURCE’s users to confront delivery challenges, this partnership aims to ensure that infrastructure projects have a greater chance of succeeding – not just in the both literal and figurative sense of “brick and mortar,” but in meeting the needs of the people that these projects are meant to serve.