The aim of the paper is to review evidence of the economic impacts of
developing ‘green infrastructure’ (i.e. resource efficient, low carbon
or climate resilient infrastructure) in fragile states in regards to
their opportunity costs vis-a-vis ‘non-green infrastructure
The review begins by defining fragile states and infrastructure in the
context of the review, it proceeds to look at the costs of investing in
green infrastructure and it’s applicability to fragile states and moves
on to review the role of government, sources of finance, employment
creation potential and poverty reduction benefits and co-benefits of
green infrastructure. The review concludes with a short summary of the
- Upfront construction costs for green infrastructure are up to 8%
higher than for non-green infrastructure projects. Climate finance is
currently not being adequately captured by fragile states for such
investments and governance issues may further hinder their capability
to take full advantage of them.
- Green infrastructure investments require strong government
participation as well as institutional capacities and capabilities
that fragile states may not possess.
- Green infrastructure investments have potentially positive poverty
reduction benefits such as improved agricultural yields and higher
rural electrification rates, benefits that can be transmitted to other
sectors of the economy not directly linked to the green infrastructure
- Whilst there are examples of green infrastructure investments creating
new jobs in a number of sectors, it is unclear what the employment
opportunities advantages are in respect to traditional infrastructure
investments. The correct market conditions (i.e. labour regulations or
energy demand) are also required in order to maximise employment
creation opportunities. Such factors that may not be fully exploited
by fragile state governments lacking the capacity to do so.
- Green infrastructure investments have a number of co-benefits
including increased energy security and improved health outcomes,
whilst a potential reduction of a country’s vulnerability to the
negative effects of climate change being arguably the most important
co-benefit for such investments in a fragile state context.
- There is (limited) evidence that green infrastructure options are
taken into consideration during the project appraisal process.
Engagement tends to mostly occur for projects that are specifically
designed with green goals, hence there is no data that shows the
decision making processes that lead to a shift towards any green
alternative. Comparisons of costs, co-benefits, poverty reduction
benefits or employment creation benefits between the two typologies
are also not evident.
Lemma, A. Green Infrastructure in Fragile States. EPS-PEAKS, UK (2012) 23 pp.