Ezra's Round Table / Systems Seminar: Julie Rozenberg (World Bank) - Infrastructure and Sustainable Development


Frank H. T. Rhodes Hall 253


The talk will give an overview of two books that were published this year on infrastructure. The first one, Beyond the Gap: How Countries Can Afford the Infrastructure They Need while Protecting the Planet aims to shift the debate regarding investment needs away from a simple focus on spending more and toward a focus on spending better on the right objectives, using relevant metrics. It does so by exploring thousands of scenarios to identify the drivers of the funding needs to close the service gaps in water and sanitation, transportation, electricity, irrigation, and flood protection. Beyond the Gap identifies a policy mix that will enable countries to achieve key international goals—universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity; greater mobility; improved food security; better protection from floods; and eventual full decarbonization—while limiting spending on new infrastructure to 4.5 percent of GDP per year. Importantly, the exploration of thousands of scenarios shows that infrastructure investment paths compatible with full decarbonization in the second half of the century need not cost more than more-polluting alternatives. Finally, investing in infrastructure is not enough; good maintenance generates substantial savings by reducing the total life-cycle cost of transport and water and sanitation infrastructure by more than 50 percent. The second report, Lifelines: the resilient infrastructure opportunity lays out a framework for understanding infrastructure resilience—the ability of infrastructure systems to function and meet users’ needs during and after a natural shock—and it makes an economic case for building more resilient infrastructure. Lifelines concludes by identifying five obstacles to resilient infrastructure and offering concrete recommendations and specific actions that can be taken by governments, stakeholders, and the international community to improve the quality and resilience of these essential services, and thereby contribute to more resilient and prosperous societies. Bio Julie Rozenberg is a senior economist at the World Bank. Her work includes green growth and climate change mitigation strategies and climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. She is the author of many research articles and book chapters and co-led the World Bank reports “Beyond the Gap” and “Lifelines”. She also applies the methodologies that are developed to take long-term uncertainties into account in the planning of projects, in sectors like transport, water or urban, to help World Bank clients deal with climate change constraints and other long-term uncertainties in the preparation of projects and strategies. Julie Rozenberg holds an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale Superieure de Techniques Avancees and a Ph.D. in economics from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.