This review outlines ways in which different groups of people might be unintentionally excluded if their needs and livelihoods are not taken into account in infrastructure projects. The Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and the concept of ‘leave no one behind’ capture the desire to ensure people are not excluded as citizens in their society. Some of the SDGs that illustrate
factors to be addressed to prevent social exclusion and leave no one behind include: (1) No poverty, (2) Good health and well-being, (5) Gender equality, (10) Reduced inequalities and (11)
Sustainable cities and communities.
This review links to the need for inclusion of all people, in particular stressing the importance of those who are disabled, people in all age groups, and women. It is guided by the consideration of
how the concept of ‘leave no one behind’ can be incorporated into infrastructure planning, development, implementation and evaluation. The report focuses on transport, electricity and
Key messages found in the literature include:
Approaches and experiences
- It is often simply assumed that infrastructure investment will trigger economic growth and that this will reach/benefit the poorest
- There is little recognition that infrastructure may harm or have negative impacts on poor
- Pro-poor infrastructure development may not involve bottom-up inclusion of the poor and vulnerable
- Where there is recognition of the problems of non-inclusive infrastructure development, there is little evidence about how to resolve these issues
- Tools which can help engage with the nexus of infrastructure and inclusion include life cycle analysis, participatory planning, social equity audits, and universal design.
Opportunities and challenges
- Investments, directly and indirectly, affect communities living in or near the area where the infrastructure is built
- Potentially adverse social impacts of upstream infrastructure development should be addressed at the beginning of a project and continue through its life cycle
- A useful hierarchy for considering gender entry points in infrastructure projects is: (i) do no harm, (ii) achieve the project objective, and (iii) seek opportunities to improve gender equity
- The above hierarchy could be extended to include other vulnerable groups.