In the distance, a truck drives along a new road in mountainous jungle terrain.


USAID infrastructure investments range from small-scale projects, such as community water tanks, to large power plants and water treatment facilities. USAID also makes direct infrastructure investments in schools, hospitals, health clinics, and other public buildings, as well as rural farm-to-market roads, trunk roads, and bridges.

Almost every aspect of these investments can have a climate impact. The design, materials, and methods of construction of a project can help mitigate some of the environmental impact, but site selection can be even more important. It is expected that within the next fifty years more than 70 percent of people will live in urban areas and a significant number of those will be located near coastal zones. The most vulnerable of these, over a billion people, will be living in informal settlements. Urbanization always brings increased economic development but with that usually comes an increase in resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Adapting infrastructure systems to meet the twin challenges of sustainability and climate variability requires engaging professional architects, engineers, and construction professionals in holistic and systemic infrastructure planning and design. Green infrastructure, sustainable construction, and equitable land policies are just a few of the ways that development professionals can promote infrastructure that is both sustainable and climate-resilient.


South Africa—the third most biodiverse country in the world—is home to more than 95,000 known species and a diverse range of biomes, from forests to deserts to river delta systems and more. The rich biodiversity of these natural areas plays an important role in the South African Government’s progressive green economy agenda, as it recognizes that those areas provide a wide range of ecosystem services for its people, including food, water, clean air, medicine, resources for livelihoods, recreation, and energy to power daily life and industry.
Climate impacts social and economic development across sectors, in numerous ways. Each sector also has unique opportunities to contribute to climate solutions. USAID integrates climate change in development programming across a variety of technical fields.
With the climate changing in fast and uncertain ways, getting the right information for infrastructure design is becoming more challenging. USAID spends over a billion dollars a year building infrastructure across our humanitarian assistance and development portfolios, so it’s important that the Agency get it right. Infrastructure matters to international development. How the world grows, advances, and develops is (literally) built on a foundation of infrastructure.