The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Diálogo informal sobre cómo desarrollar la resiliencia mundial y promover el desarrollo sostenible a través de la conectividad de la infraestructura

Palabras de Jorge Moreira da Silva, Secretario General Adjunto de las Naciones Unidas y Director Ejecutivo de UNOPS, con motivo del panel de la Semana de la Sostenibilidad de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas sobre cómo alcanzar la resiliencia de la infraestructura a través de las alianzas, la solidaridad y la innovación (en inglés).

Good afternoon,

It is indeed a pleasure to be here on this panel, and to focus on the all important links between sustainable development, resilience building and the key role of infrastructure.

This is obviously a topic that is very close to our hearts in UNOPS. We run operations for the UN and other partners, with expertise in infrastructure, procurement and project management. And we deliver projects in over 80 countries.

We know that infrastructure is the backbone for sustainable development: it can influence 92% of all targets across the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our world’s infrastructure needs are immense: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated that $97 trillion of global infrastructure investment was needed by 2040 to address the SDGs. Based on the current investment trend ($79 trillion) this means a 15 trillion USD infrastructure gap by 2040. A gap that particularly hits emerging markets and developing economies.

We also know that public financing will not be sufficient to cover this gap - and there is an urgent need to provide private capital globally. There are billions of dollars held by global private capital and institutional investors that could help bridge this gap.

Yet this is not happening anywhere near the scale needed.

Around this table we all know many of the prevalent reasons for this:

Many developing countries lack the adequate capacity to identify, prepare and structure complex infrastructure projects. Others lack the public finances needed to undertake the riskier early stage project development. Foreign exchange risks remain a key concern. The high costs of capital hinders ambition. And then there are key issues with creating an enabling environment for infrastructure investment.

Yet mobilizing the needed financing is just one part of the challenge. Another - and an equally important one - is delivery. And this is a subject often overlooked in discussions on the implementation of climate or SDGs, which tend to be focused on two main gaps: of finance and policy.

In many countries, Inadequate data and institutional, financial and technical capacity act as barriers to implement infrastructure that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

So both to mobilize infrastructure financing, and to translate that into work on the ground, we need to redouble our efforts to strengthen the implementation capacity of government institutions to plan, deliver, and manage quality infrastructure.

And this is an area that UNOPS - with our focus on implementation - is focused on.

We do not have a role on the supply side of financing, obviously. But we are committed to supporting an enabling environment for financing for sustainable development, particularly around infrastructure.

  • This means supporting governments with project preparation, tender and award, and project delivery.

  • It means advising governments on sustainable infrastructure planning and implementation.

  • And it means helping countries to better understand the financing options available for their sustainable infrastructure plans and to access that finance.

  • It also means strengthening the infrastructure enabling environment to attract - and effectively spend - the necessary finance.

This is key: Research by the IMF has found that inefficient infrastructure governance results in one-third of infrastructure spending being wasted. In low-income countries, this can surpass 50 per cent.

Encouraging investments is important - but we also need to make sure that we prioritize the right investments - through sustainable and resilient infrastructure planning. Infrastructure is built to last for decades, so we need to ensure that infrastructure investments and planning decisions are aligned with long-term national development plans, and the SDGs.

And finally, we need to deliver those right solutions well. This includes improving infrastructure public procurement, which has huge influence throughout the entire value chain of infrastructure projects, from planning and financing to design, construction and management.

We stand at a critical moment of time: our world’s immense infrastructure needs - particularly in developing countries - offer an opportunity to build a better future, a resilient, sustainable and inclusive one.

The infrastructure decisions we take now determine the quality of our common future. Now is the time for action towards net-zero and resilience, together, in solidarity, and driven by innovative and practical solutions.

Thank you.

Descubrir más