Inadequate infrastructure planning by governments around the world weakens economic recovery from coronavirus, climate actions, and sustainable development goals (SDG), according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) report.
It recommends that countries improve their infrastructure management systems and practices ranging from water and wastewater systems to power grids to transportation systems. Doing so would reduce waste and cost and would significantly improve the delivery of essential public services.
The Daijiworld article says that infrastructure investments go to waste when governments fail to budget their resources efficiently. Financial, material, and human resources are needed to manage assets throughout their useful life.
According to the UN report, which also serves as a handbook for governments, expenditures after an asset is bought or built is much higher at 70-85% than its actual construction or acquisition cost at 15-30%.
There are many economic and social benefits to having a sound infrastructure according to the article, here are some of them:
- It builds climate-resilience into assets and infrastructure.
- It is necessary and crucial to cope with the growing pressures of population and urban growth, climate-related calamities, and health emergencies.
- “Well-managed assets can increase fiscal space, they can provide leverage for further investments, and they can repay the initial investments, many times over.”
Governments tend to focus more on new and shiny projects but neglect the ‘old’ assets. Overlooking ageing assets is costly, especially in developing countries. The article says that under-investing in these assets’ accounts for 2% of their GDP growth.
The UN’s new handbook highlights the importance of infrastructure asset management and the crucial role in economic recovery, achieving the UN SDG, and coping with climate-related disasters and health emergencies.