New UNDP guide helps low-income nations build climate-proof infrastructure

Oct 31, 2011

New York — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched a guide aimed at helping decision makers in developing countries to adapt their national public infrastructure to future changes in climate.

Paving the Way for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure is the outcome of a conference last year organized by UNDP and the Government of El Salvador in response to the human and economic impacts of extreme weather events in Central America.

The report is released just as nearly 70 per cent of El Salvador has been affected by the heavy rainsthat continue to cause severe flooding across Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize.

In El Salvador, 300,000 people had been directly affected by the storms and more than 1 million others indirectly affected. The country’s agricultural crops and infrastructure had been seriously damaged, and that reconstruction efforts would require $1.5 billion – equivalent to five per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Similarly, in November 2009, Hurricane Ida caused an estimated US$314 million in damage to more than 200 bridges and left thousands without transport, communications, electricity and basic services.  Rehabilitation and reconstruction needs were estimated at close to US$344 million.

“Adapting infrastructure to the risks of climate change not only helps reduce the loss of lives, physical damages and interruptions in critical services,” wrote in the report Yannick Glemarec, UNDP Director of Environmental Finance and Executive Coordinator of UNDP-Global Environment Facility, “it also yields additional benefits from poverty mitigation, more balanced regional development, greater energy security, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity conservation.”

The report is part of a series of guides for decision-makers in developing countries on how to design, finance and implement an effective response to climate change in the framework of UNDP’s support for green, low-emission, climate-resilient development strategies.

“The objective…is to incorporate guidelines into planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure; to actualize the legal framework and technical standards; to enhance state governance; to ensure financing for the sustainability of this policy and its conversion into state policy; and to promote a cultural change in this direction,”said Gerson Martinez, Minister of Public Works, Transport, Housing and Urban Development of El Salvador in the report’s foreword.

Contact information

(Mr.) Stanislav Saling, Communications Specialist, Tel.: (212) 906-5296, E-mail:

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