Workshop Towards global guidelines for infrastructure development a project proposal

Roads and other linear infrastructure, such as rail and pipelines, are essential for sustainable development but often have deleterious impacts on species, communities and ecosystems, including human and wildlife injury and mortality, deforestation, barrier effects, carbon emissions, wildlife poaching, and land-clearing. Impacts can extend for kilometres from the road itself and continue to develop for years, thereby affecting ecosystems and their services across the landscape. On the other hand, maintaining healthy ecosystems, particularly with our changing climate, can both protect ‘grey’ infrastructure by reducing potential damage from hazards such as landslides, flooding and erosion - and provide ‘green’ or natural infrastructure that can protect communities from harm.

There are 64 million km of roads on earth – enough for 83 round-trips to the moon. An additional 25 million km will be constructed by 2050; 90% of which will be in non-OECD countries.  Much of this infrastructure will occur within and around areas currently managed for biodiversity and ecosystem service values, thereby undermining past, current and future conservation investments.

The provision of linear infrastructure is central to achieving the 9th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. In this workshop, we will introduce a proposal to develop globally-relevant best-practise guidelines to ensure the linear infrastructure we build today is as ecologically sensitive as possible. This workshop is relevant to anyone involved in planning, designing, constructing, funding, approving, and managing linear infrastructure from government, private industry, international development banks and other investors, conservation groups, aid and development organisations and research institutions. We seek feedback on what would make the guidelines realistic and practical in a local context, thereby ensuring that the guidelines will ultimately meet their needs. We also present opportunities for collaborations from partner organisations and sponsors.

Land planning & management; Livelihoods; Sustainability; Transportation & service corridors; Best practice guidelines; Linear infrastructure; developing countries