Enhancing regional cooperation in infrastructure development including that related to disaster management

Enhancing regional cooperation in infrastructure development including that related to disaster management

Monday, May 1, 2006

The crucial role of regional cooperation in meeting the future infrastructure requirements of Asian and Pacific countries cannot be overstated. The need for cooperation in the areas of infrastructure creation, maintenance and utilization is well recognized. On the financing side, research reveals that the region will need to find at least $228 billion per year to pay for the infrastructure it plans to build and maintain between 2006 and 2010. Furthermore, assuming a business-as-usual scenario on the availability of assured finances, a gap as large as $180 billion per year between requirement and availability is within the realm of possibility. To bridge the gap, Asian and Pacific countries need to find innovative ways to mobilize finances for infrastructure investment urgently and regional cooperation could be a vehicle for identifying and operationalizing the appropriate instruments and institutions. The conclusion in this study is that status quo might not be able to generate sufficient funding to meet the region’s infrastructure needs.

For Asian and Pacific countries, the urgency of deciding on a course of action is commensurate with the critical role of infrastructure in people’s daily lives and the economic outlook of the region. Adequate infrastructure in the four key sectors of transport, telecommunications, energy and water considered in this study is a prerequisite for opening up access to global trade and investment flows, increasing the competitiveness of production and services and thus sustaining the region’s economic growth.

Infrastructure, at the same time, makes growth more inclusive. It unlocks the resources and potential of remote areas and small or landlocked countries and distributes the benefits of growth, enabling the delivery of health, education and other services. Infrastructure is therefore a crucial facilitator of the region’s efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.