More about defining 'pipelines'
Infrastructure pipelines are interpreted differently based on who is using the pipeline and for what purpose. Considering the definitions used by multilateral development banks, international organisations, and other leading entities around the world, the GI Hub proposes this definition:
An infrastructure pipeline is a tool that sets forth credible and/or expected infrastructure project investments or procurements across a reasonable time horizon, providing details that can be used by stakeholders to plan and prioritise their resources to invest in and/or deliver the specified projects."
Although the term 'pipeline' is usually used to refer to forward-looking pipelines that capture projects from early government announcements and feasibility studies to the procurement stage, the definition used here is deliberately broad. It covers a wide scope, from the upstream stage of project identification with infrastructure investment programs to project completion and operation, with reporting on project spending. This definition incorporates several types of pipelines, as defined above: Investment Programs, Forward Pipelines, Priority Lists, and Project Trackers. Applying this broad definition captures more sources of intelligence and information on future projects/programs and also identifies more backward-looking information to inform future projects.
Why are these pipelines important?
Pipelines are important because they provide a forward (and backward) view of planned investment, enabling government, industry, and communities to better plan and prepare for infrastructure development.
- For governments, pipeline development is an essential step in planning infrastructure, which complements the government's infrastructure plans and project preparation practices (refer to Chapter 4 of GI Hub’s Project Preparation Reference Guide).
- Industry needs pipelines to plan and prepare its resources both on a micro level (in pursuit of specific programs and projects) and a macro level (by using pipelines to identify market trends). Pipelines are also an important resource for attracting new entrants to infrastructure markets and for industry and academia to prioritise workforce education and upskilling programs.
- Communities want pipelines so that they can see what is being built and when. Pipelines can be an effective tool to demonstrate transparency and build trust with communities.