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Finding the pipeline: project preparation for sustainable development

Research reports

Written by Darius Nassiry

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Paris Agreement objectives will require increased investment in socially, economically and environmentally sustainable infrastructure. The main barrier to investment of the kind needed is not the lack of available finance, but rather a lack of well-prepared and investment-ready 'bankable' projects. 

Whether or not a project is bankable – i.e., attractive enough for investors to decide to invest – depends on a number of factors including the policy and regulatory environment, consultations with relevant stakeholders, capacity to engage with investors and manage transactions, quality of project documentation, and economic development issues such as creditworthiness and willingness to pay. The international community has launched numerous capacity building and technical assistance initiatives to address these factors, but greater effort will be needed to mobilise public and private investment in developing and emerging economies for sustainable infrastructure. 

This report considers the complexities that underpin efforts to attract investment into sustainable infrastructure with a focus on project preparation. It reflects on experiences with project preparation support for infrastructure and potential shifts in approach needed to deliver the scale of investment required in sustainable infrastructure to achieve the SDGs and fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

Darius Nassiry and Smita Nakhooda with Sam Barnard