Invest in infrastructure, invest in development
Roads, buildings, airports – seemingly practical infrastructure developments can not only meet the demands of society, but also fulfill the requirements and rights of individuals, leading to better human development.
The development and strengthening of logistical and transportation infrastructure has a potential impact both on economic development and poverty reduction. Transportation infrastructure is of vital importance to the standard of living of a population. It links urban and rural areas, connects the country internationally, facilitates access to basic services such as education and health, and contributes to the sound functioning of cities, rendering them more competitive. Furthermore, logistical infrastructure can play an instrumental role when it comes to creating high-quality jobs and bolstering competitiveness in the production of goods and services, enhancing increased productivity and efficiency, which reflects lower costs.
Taking into account these dynamics, UNDP in El Salvador has worked systematically over the last few years with the Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Housing and Urban Development (MOPTVDU) and the Autonomous Executive Ports Commission (CEPA), organizations responsible for most of the investment in logistical and transportation infrastructure. UNDP, in association with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), has worked in tandem with CEPA in the modernization of part of the port and airport infrastructure within the country, managing an investment portfolio of more than US$52 million aimed at the improvement of El Salvador´s “Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez” international airport.
This investment has made possible the renovation of more than four thousand metres of taxiway, the improvement of internal road surfaces, the paving of perimeter roads, the modernization of gangways, and a number of other significant changes that impact positively on operating capacity and services, keeping in mind quality, transparency and sustainability, and thereby guaranteeing that people are the true beneficiaries. The most impressive project has been the placing of a new asphalt layer on the 3,200 metre stretch of the main runway that will extend this infrastructure´s life by as much as 20 years.
This work has multiple benefits for El Salvador´s citizens. During the one and a half years spent on implementing the project, 314 men and 23 women have been employed directly, while 1,500 ancillary positions have been created. Policy measures preserve and strengthen the quality and safety of transportation for the more than 2.4 million passengers who use the service every year, while maintaining the high standard of service made available to visitors, airlines and workers. The overriding benefit, however, is that such investments ensure that El Salvador is better connected with the rest of the world, with a beneficial impact on transportation, competitiveness and growth.
When the fundamental criteria of sustainability, participation and transparency are complied with, investing in infrastructure leads to an investment in human development.