There is no climate justice without social justice. Climate change magnifies inequalities, with marginalised or underserved communities often bearing the brunt of climate impacts. With rapid urbanisation and a pressing need to address urban inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, developing and financing equitable and inclusive climate action should be a priority.
Climate-resilient infrastructure projects that consider and address the impacts on marginalised communities can help secure buy-in from local residents and minimise potential risks and delays to project implementation. How effectively communities are engaged and their views and realities are considered in project design, planning and implementation will have a direct impact on the quality and sustainability of projects.
While the processes for developing equitable and inclusive climate action are diverse and complex, we set out key steps and components that are essential to designing equitable and inclusive sustainable infrastructure projects during the preparation process.
Embedding Equity and Inclusivity in Sustainable Infrastructure: A Guidance Note for Cities empowers cities to design inclusive climate action by identifying what actions cities need to take at each of the following five stages of the project preparation lifecycle to embed equity and inclusivity:
- Project Conceptualisation & Definition: undertake an equity and inclusivity screening to identify which groups may be impacted by the project; establish project steering structures; elaborate a stakeholder engagement strategy; and develop capacity building activities.
- Technical & Financial Feasibility: determine the impacted population and how the project might impact specific groups within the population; and identify ways to reduce existing inequalities or mitigate potential negative impacts and include feedback into project design.
- Business case: develop a social benefits plan and be explicit about potential benefits and indicators to be monitored.
- Accessing & Linking to Finance: select the appropriate financing structure and funder; and ensure alignment between the equity & inclusion objectives of the project and the project financing structure.
- Implementation Preparation: develop a monitoring and evaluation strategy with equity and inclusion KPIs; and conduct communications and awareness raising with specific actions for communicating with under-served groups.
Alongside the Guidance Note for Cities, four excel-based tools have been developed for the solid waste management, mass transit, nature-based solutions and net-zero buildings sectors. These four tools are easy-to-use and designed to help cities carry out a rapid assessment of a sustainable urban infrastructure project to understand how successfully it incorporates equity and inclusivity in the project preparation process.
The Guidance Note for Cities and tools have been prepared by AECOM and the C40 Cities Finance Facility.