State of the Tropics 2017 report: sustainable infrastructure in the tropics

Harding, Sandra, Trewin, Dennis, Penny, Ann, Ziembicki, Mark, Dale, Allan, Ustan, Taha Sellin, Tan, David, Waltham, Nathan, Laurance, William F., Ceclia, Rogas, Yong, Wik Diew, Kuah, Adrian T., Hassan, Suhaimy, Mcjannet, Kelly, Langston, James, Riggs, Rebecca, Mohd Sharif, Dato' Maimunah, and Jamaludin, Siti Rohaidah (2017) State of the Tropics 2017 report: sustainable infrastructure in the tropics. Report. James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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[Extract] Sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure lies at the heart of global development. Appropriately developed and managed, infrastructure is a powerful catalyst for promoting economic growth, social inclusion and environmental stewardship. The development of sustainable infrastructure can be transformative for communities and nations, lifting people out of poverty and providing access to services, products and markets to facilitate trade and productivity, promote health and wellbeing, and improve education outcomes.

Although the world has made notable progress in recent decades in delivering key infrastructure, significant gaps persist. Meeting the challenge of bridging these deficits is likely to increase as the world faces several major transformative trends. Growing human populations, increasing affluence, rapid urbanisation, and global challenges such as climate change, make the timely development of sustainable infrastructure one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Estimates of the global infrastructure deficit vary but all agree it is immense, with recent predictions suggesting the world will need to spend up to $60 trillion by 2030 to meet key infrastructure needs (McKinsey & Company 2011; OECD 2015).The importance of infrastructure development is highlighted by several recent global initiatives centred around three primary challenges: stimulating economic growth, promoting sustainable development, and addressing the impacts of climate change (Bhattacharya et al. 2016). These challenges are reflected in ambitious global targets as set out in the UN’s groundbreaking 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (United Nations 2015c), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (United Nations 2015a), and the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change (United Nations 2015b).

The challenges and opportunities for investment in infrastructure provide are broadly recognised by both the public and private sectors. New infrastructure initiatives such as the UN’s Global Infrastructure Forum, led by multi-lateral development banks in close collaboration with the United Nations, aims to bring together multiple stakeholders to bridge the infrastructure deficit by identifying and addressing key requirements and highlighting opportunities for investment and cooperation, including through the facilitation of public-private partnerships.

The most significant global challenges relating to infrastructure development are shared, but their relative importance and how they may be addressed differ within and between nations and regions. In general, developing and emerging economies face different priorities and have different constraints and challenges. Starting from significantly lower baselines their infrastructure deficits are more acute with many nations lacking basic facilities and services such as adequate transport, reliable energy supplies, and water and sanitation facilities that are taken for granted in more developed economies. While there are significant investment opportunities in developing nations, significant challenges in the enabling environment in terms of institutional capacity, technical knowledge and skills, and governance structures act as impediments to investment and development. More developed economies face somewhat different challenges including ageing infrastructure, high costs of infrastructure development and uncertainty over long term economic growth prospects impeding investment.

Although they play out differently between nations and regions there are shared challenges and responsibilities, including the impact of universal transformative trends such as urbanisation, the logistical and financial challenges of provision of adequate infrastructure to people in rural areas, and the pervasive impacts of climate change that require infrastructure that facilitates mitigation and adaptation.

This report explores these issues from a tropical perspective. It takes stock of the current and historical status of infrastructure development across the tropical zone by sector and explores the particular challenges and opportunities nations and regions of the Tropics face in terms of improving the provision of adequate services and facilities to their populations. In doing so, the report demonstrates that the region is becoming increasingly important, and highlights that the extent to which nations of the Tropics develop sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure will in large part determine whether the world achieves its ambitious development goals.

Item ID: 49487
Item Type: Report (Report)
ISBN: 978-0-9954470-6-6
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2017 04:21
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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