The infrastructure marketplace in the Indo-Pacific is being defined by competition. But given 21st century trends, this competition should be in the service of expanding choice, innovation, and effective delivery of sustainable infrastructure outcomes. Does the recently announced B3W offer positive contribution beyond engagement through its implicit contrast to the BRI?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, global demand for infrastructure is booming. National plans around the world show that infrastructure is likely to provide the backbone for a resurgence in public expenditure, and to support growth in economies badly hit by the pandemic.
In the context of rising competition between China and the United States, Washington has introduced a massive infrastructure plan: the American Jobs Plan. As the 100-day milestone approaches for the Biden administration, the goal is to update and strengthen American infrastructure, create new jobs, boost growth, and enhance overall competitiveness.
President Biden unveiled a new $2 trillion American Jobs Plan on Wednesday, March 31, focused on infrastructure, the care economy, the climate and, as the name implies, creating desperately needed, good jobs. Previous U.S.
US infrastructure agencies have kept the country’s trains running, water flowing, and government buildings functioning during the coronavirus crisis. Now that operations are stabilizing, they can reconsider their capital-expenditure plans. What that entails will vary dramatically depending on whether the federal government provides substantial infrastructure funding as part of an economic-stimulus package. If it does, agencies will need to determine how best to spend their share.
Technology trends, behavioural changes and sustainability are going to shape the future of mobility in the coming decades. Now, more than ever, is the time to holistically rethink mobility for both passengers and freight transport.
Current trends in passenger mobility may be drastically affected by emerging innovative trends such as:
Most countries along the BRI are developing countries and emerging economies. They account for 31 percent of the global GDP, but constitute about 62 percent of world’s population(1). At the same time, the ecological environment is very fragile, due to the distribution of most of the global biodiversity hotspots(2). 58 percent of the world’s deserts are also concentrated in this area(3). In a certain sense, the historical Silk Road is also an international transmission channel for dust and pollutants(4).
It is difficult to overstate the relevance of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the fight against global warming. This large-scale initiative is aimed at improving international economic integration mainly through investment in energy and other infrastructure projects. These sectors often are the backbone of economic activity and – if based on fossil energy – the main source of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.
The COVID-19 lockdowns had an immediate and drastic impact on transport systems and mobility, in particular on the mobility patterns of people. Strict regulations imposed by governments around the world have affected the delivery of and demand for public transport services in and across many cities and countries as highlighted in Figure 1.
Past global catastrophes have shown us how public health crises force us to change how we design, build, and operate cities and infrastructure systems. The cholera epidemic, for example, in the 19th century led to the introduction of modern sanitation systems  . During the Industrial Revolution, housing regulations on air circulation and lighting were introduced as measures to avoid respiratory diseases in overcrowded houses in Europe.
Today’s global context indicates that disparities and inequalities in human development are widespread across the world and they will probably increase in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The availability of natural resources is limited and global warming, linked to human activity, is putting the survival of forests, cities and people at risk. Geopolitical implications prompt policymakers to look at existing and new connectivity infrastructure more as a proxy of their sovereignty than as an opportunity for inclusive economic growth.