UNDP sees public-private partnerships for investments in infrastructure as vital for achieving sustainable development

Feb 9, 2015

Finance, technology and capacity focus of two-day high-level debate on post-2015

New York – With populations growing, some estimates suggest annual infrastructure spending in developing countries must increase between US$1.8-2.3 trillion each year by 2020, and more of these resources must come from the private sector through public-private partnerships, according to Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP’s Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

“As we embark on a new era of advancing the global development and climate change agendas, in particular public-private partnerships will play an essential role,” Martínez-Solimán said. “UNDP has seen, by creating the right systems – meaning policies, institutions and budgetary frameworks – increased private finance can be unlocked and countries can more effectively transition toward low-emission and climate-resilient development.”

Mobilizing resources for infrastructure development, particularly in the energy, health, education, water and sanitation, transport and communication sectors, will be critical for promoting economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. While global public and private savings would be sufficient to meet the financing needs, current investment in infrastructure remains vastly insufficient, with limited availability of both public and private capital for infrastructure development in developing and developed countries.

Martínez-Solimán joined high-level Member State officials, representatives from the private sector, civil society and academia and other senior UN officials on the opening day of the high-level thematic debate of the General Assembly on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda. The debate underscored the need to reach agreement on the post-2015 development agenda and focus on ensuring its effective implementation.

Adequate means of implementation – financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building – will be critical to delivering on and implementing a truly transformative and ambitious post-2015 development agenda. Participants addressed key issues related to mobilizing the means of implementation, such as what actions are needed to scale up mobilization of financial resources from all sources.

During the 69th session of the General Assembly, Member States and other stakeholders will be engaged in intergovernmental negotiations expected to lead to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, including a proposed set of sustainable development goals, by world leaders in September.

Speaking during the debate’s panel discussion on mobilizing resources for infrastructure development, Martínez-Solimán said investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure supports economic activity and jobs in the short run and lays the foundations for inclusive and sustainable growth over the long run.

“The sustainable development goals will most probably have a goal on infrastructure that requires our new infrastructure to be resilient, of superior quality, sustainable and aimed at development, human wellbeing and access to better living standards, beyond borders,” Martínez-Solimán said.

Martínez-Solimán said infrastructure makes life better, economies more competitive, and adds jobs during creation, but also entails risks that need to be mitigated, such as increased emissions, gender-biased employment opportunities, unmanageable debts, impact on populations and their livelihoods, and environmental degradation.

“Investments in energy and water and in infrastructure that allow producers to reach the market, remain the highest priority together with social, midsize infrastructure,” Martínez-Solimán said. “We need long highways and IT infrastructure, but we still need rural schools in the villages and clinics in the suburbs of our megacities.”

Noting that the post-2015 development agenda offers the opportunity to think more broadly about development finance, Martínez-Solimán said the upcoming Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July provides an important opportunity for the international community to discuss the financing demands for infrastructure, within the context of the new agenda.

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