The Global Infrastructure Index survey places the environment at the top of its priorities

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A new global study conducted in 28 countries by Ipsos MORI, in collaboration with the Global Infrastructure Investor Association, found that the public places a higher priority on the impacts on the environment than on the economy when making decisions on how to improve infrastructure in their country. .

As COP26 approaches, an average of 51% of citizens across 28 countries felt it was right to prioritize environmental impact, almost double the 26% who place greater importance economic impacts.

Moreover, the environment was also ranked as the most important factor among seven criteria for planning the future, with an average of 26% of people ranking first, slightly ahead of the quality of infrastructure, chosen by 23%. . Ownership and disruption were the least likely to be chosen as the top priority, selected by only 9% and 7% respectively, with ownership most often chosen as the lowest ranked factor (ranked seventh out of seven by 24% ).

The results were presented in the annual World Infrastructure Index survey. Lawrence Slade, CEO of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association, said: “As world leaders gather in Glasgow to discuss next steps in tackling climate change, this survey should encourage policymakers to put the environment at the heart. of their infrastructure investments. plans. Global citizens are far from happy with their infrastructure today and want to see improvements, with many placing climate-related infrastructure such as water supply, renewables and flood defenses at the top of their list.

The Global Infrastructure Index survey, which has taken place annually since 2016, shows large variations in satisfaction with infrastructure. For example:

  • 77% are satisfied with infrastructure in China while only 18% are positive in Italy, against a national average of 39%;
  • In the G8 countries, 37% are satisfied, more than 35% in Great Britain and 27% in the United States;
  • In Europe, infrastructures in the Netherlands (74%), France (53%) and Germany (51%) are rated much more positively than in Spain (25%), Hungary (20%) and Italy (18%) at the other end of the scale.

Globally in 2021, people in South Africa (79%) and Brazil (75%) are most likely to agree that their country is “not doing enough to meet our infrastructure needs. But this is a majority view in all but five of the 28 countries. countries. Agreement is weakest in South Korea (28%) and Japan (29%). Britain (64%) and the United States (61%) rank above the G8 average of 55%.

On average, three-quarters, 75% of the 28 countries agreed that investing in infrastructure will create new jobs and boost the economy. South Africa leads – 90% agree – while the lowest level of agreement is in Japan with 51%.

Water supply and sanitation were identified as investment priorities with 42% choosing them from a list of 13 possibilities, followed by solar energy infrastructure (39%) and flood defenses (36 %). Airports were seen as an investment priority by much lower proportions of people, with only 11% choosing this option. The same proportion chose nuclear infrastructure to generate power (it was excluded as an option in the survey in nine countries).

In Britain, four of the top five priorities are climate related; flood defenses (selected by 44%), solar power (38%), wind power (38%) and electric vehicle charging (37%) top the list alongside rail infrastructure ( 37%). In the United States, the top five priorities are water supply and sanitation (48%), local road network (43%), highway / major roads network (42%), solar energy (37 %) and wind energy (31%).

Globally, more and more people continue to prioritize improvements in social infrastructure (42%) such as schools, hospitals and housing, in preference to economic infrastructure (35%) such as networks road, rail and air, utilities such as energy and water, and broadband and other communications. However, the gap has narrowed since last year – when the pandemic increased attention to hospitals and schools – from 16 percentage points at the time (48% vs. 32%) to 7 percentage points this time. year.

There is still a preference for maintaining and repairing existing infrastructure (chosen by 55%) as a priority rather than spending on new infrastructure projects (20%), a trend identical to that seen in 2019.

In the United States and Great Britain, 61% support the role of the private sector in investing in infrastructure, compared to only 6% in the United States and 9% in Great Britain; they welcome the prospect of private investment if this allows them to have the infrastructure they need.

Slade continued, “Our survey shows that people are much less concerned that infrastructure improvements come from private or public sources and are much more focused on quality and environmental considerations. At a time when many countries are looking to boost their economies and recover from the effects of the pandemic, governments should focus on how to unlock private sector expertise to help them meet their future infrastructure needs. “

Spotlight on the United States:

  • In the United States, 27% are satisfied with their country’s infrastructure, compared to 37% dissatisfied. Latin America is the only region in six where dissatisfaction is higher;
  • 70% agree that investing in infrastructure will create new jobs and boost the economy, but 61% believe that “not enough is being done” to meet their country’s infrastructure needs;
  • Americans overwhelmingly (61%) support private investment in infrastructure if that means the country gets what it needs with only 6% disagreeing;
  • Unlike most other countries, Americans would prioritize economic infrastructure (47%) over social infrastructure (27%). This compares to the global country average of 35% and 42% respectively;
  • In terms of specific infrastructure sectors, Americans would favor investments in water supply and sanitation (48%), local road network (43%), major road networks (42%), energy solar (37%) and wind energy (31%).

Spotlight on the UK:

  • In Great Britain, 35% are satisfied with their country’s infrastructure, compared to 26% who are dissatisfied;
  • 79% agree that investing in infrastructure will create new jobs and boost the economy, but 64% believe that “not enough is being done” to meet infrastructure needs;
  • The British overwhelmingly (61%) support private investment in infrastructure if it means the country gets what it needs with only 9% disagreeing;
  • In terms of specific infrastructure sectors, four of the top five investment priorities are climate related with flood defenses (44%), solar power (38%), wind power (38%) and electric vehicle charging (37%) tops the list. list with rail infrastructure (37%);
  • When making decisions on how to invest in infrastructure, 51% of Britons would give higher priority to considering environmental impacts compared to 21% who would prioritize economic impacts.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos on its online platform Global Advisor between July 23 and August 6, 2021 among 19,514 adults, aged 18 to 74 in Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and in the United States, and ages 16 to 74 elsewhere.

Samples in Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey are more urban, more educated and / or more better off than the general population. The results should be seen as reflecting the views of the most “connected” segment of their population.

The study was conducted in 28 countries, with the star countries below having a sample size of over 1,000: Argentina, Australia *, Belgium, Brazil *, Canada *, Chile, China *, Colombia, France * , Germany *, Great Britain *, Hungary, India, Italy *, Japan *, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain *, Sweden, Turkey and United States of America *.


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