This area of work supports countries in the implementation of the first pillar on the OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Infrastructure (2020). It focuses on developing a long-term strategic vision for infrastructure grounded upon shared ambitions for national and subnational development and enhances the economic, natural, social and human capital, which underpins well-being, sustainable and inclusive growth competitiveness and public service delivery.
Sound long-term strategic planning is indispensable for the successful delivery of infrastructure projects. It requires alignment with a country’s development aims and economic conditions across sectors. Weak or insufficient planning disrupts infrastructure delivery impeding resource optimisation, coordination, implementation and operation. Designing a clear and coherent long-term strategic plan is challenging, yet the integration of some pivotal processes can help propel countries towards quality infrastructure.
• Infrastructure is critical to improve access to jobs markets, reduce poverty, income and gender inequality, enhance environmental sustainability and resilience, as well as to address regional disparities. Aligning the long-term infrastructure strategic vision with other policy objectives empowers infrastructure to advance a country towards sustainable and inclusive growth. Additionally, policy and institutional frameworks to adapt to uncertain and complex conditions play a crucial role for infrastructure investments to respond to rapidly evolving technologies, external shocks (e.g., climate risks, pandemics) and other developments in a country.
• Undertaking needs assessment to support decision making and investment helps improve infrastructure service delivery. Needs assessments are fundamental to ensure that the right infrastructure projects are planned for and make more efficient use of limited resources. In addition to engagement with stakeholders, evidence-based research and evaluations can help governments better understand and address differentiated user needs, particularly those that are often under-represented throughout the strategic planning process.
• Fiscal sustainability of long-term infrastructure plans requires that the plans are linked with budget allocations and other sources of financing, and aligned with the medium-term expenditure framework. This assures the relevant stakeholders of the stable, multi-year availability of resources.
• In the context of increasing interdependence of infrastructure services across sectors and levels of government, ensuring robust coordination mechanisms becomes important. Adopting effective coordination mechanisms can help strengthen capacities for public investment management, potentiate cross-sectoral synergies and effectively direct infrastructure investment towards an equitable and regionally balanced sustainable development.