In a post-pandemic world where sustainability is necessary, economies in the Asia Pacific region should prioritize quality investment in infrastructure, one that is resilient and well-planned.
The Asian Development Bank said investing in resilient and adaptive infrastructure after the pandemic would help reignite global growth, attain the Sustainable Development Goals, and lessen climate risks.
ADB chief compliance officer Bruno Carrasco, principal public management specialist Hanif Rahemtulla and public-private partnership expert David Bloomgarden said Covid-19 has slowed investment in resilient infrastructure supposed to improve lives over the long term.
“Given the large upfront costs, the long time frames, and the importance of such investment, it is critical to ensure effective governance for planning, funding and implementing projects,” they said.
It is estimated that the Asia Pacific region needs to allocate at least $26 trillion for water and sanitation, telecommunications, power and transportation from 2016 to 2030. This includes about $200 billion to mitigate climate change and $41 billion per year to make infrastructure more resilient.
The authors said governments should ensure that public spending is efficient and use resources to target economic, social, environmental, and climate priorities.
They pointed out that developing countries in AsPac, including the Philippines, lose an average of 32 percent of their investments due to inefficient planning and development.
Stronger early planning, along with monitoring, can help decision makers understand the long term effects of infrastructure projects and take climate impacts in to account. The World Bank earlier reported that the net benefit of investing in more resilient infrastructure in developing countries is $4.2 trillion globally, with $4 in benefit for each $1 invested.
The authors pushed for stronger institutional capacity for climate risk analysis, planning and project implementation so local governments can play a bigger role in sustainable and resilient investments as part of the post-pandemic recovery.
In a country where the battle cry has been “Build Build Build”, a government that gives more thought into the projects that can be built better, more sustainable and resilient would surely help our nation as we prepare for the post-Covid world will hopefully become a reality one day.*