UNOPS: Supporting Global Development

We are working with the United Nation’s Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to develop pioneering modelling tools to enable governments around the world to make effective long-term plans on national infrastructure. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)  implements projects around the world to provide peace and security and humanitarian and development solutions.  Most of the world’s infrastructure development is occurring in rapidly emerging economies. Infrastructure decisions being made now will lock in development pathways for decades to come.

A key component of our work with UNOPS is the creation of the National Infrastructure Model – International (NISMOD-Int), a new application of the ground-breaking NISMOD to contexts including developing countries, rapidly developing city-states, and post-conflict, post-disaster situations. The tool is focused on development projects and designed to help governments efficiently make use of existing assets, prioritise new projects and use financial resources for the maximum benefit of local communities.

Our new report with UNOPS finds that efficient infrastructure policy and disciplined investment decisions are vital for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report, Infrastructure: Underpinning Sustainable Development, is the result of extensive research into the influence that infrastructure has on all 17 SDGs. It highlights the need to understand infrastructure as an integrated system of systems – the interdependencies across sectors requires us to break down the ‘silo mentality’ in infrastructure development.

Our collaborations have focused on planning future infrastructure in Palestine and Curacao. We are currently working with other Pacific Islands affected by hurricanes and climate change.

Palestine

After years of conflict and neglect, the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip face many challenges in the provision of basic infrastructure such as water and energy. The current demand for services far outstrips available resources and this is expected to only become more severe with population growth, increasing urbanisation and climate change.

With a focus on the Palestinian context, our researchers were able to provide insight into how infrastructure services currently operate, as well as what constrains their capacity. An assessment of the drivers of future demand and overall trends provides a clear picture of what plans are needed for infrastructure provision.

Curaçao

As a small island in the Caribbean, Curaçao faces pressure on its infrastructure system from increasing tourism and the risk associated with climate change such as rising sea levels. We are working with UNOPS and the Government of Curaçao to investigate future scenarios and analyse infrastructure strategies.

Using the NISMOD-Int for the first time in the Caribbean region, an assessment of Curaçao current and future infrastructure needs was conducted, highlighting key challenges for the long term. The analysis demonstrated how evidence-based investments could be used to support sustainable and resilient development. The findings were presented at the Conference on Resilient Infrastructure in Curaçao (May 2018).

As a result of our work, the government of Curaçao is looking to adapt its infrastructure to withstand a range of future changes, including the impacts of climate change and moving away from fossil fuels.

  • Read the report Evidence-based Infrastructure: Curacao– national infrastructure systems modelling to support sustainable and resilient infrastructure
  •  make a link to pdf in the website

We are working with the United Nation’s Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to help the people of Palestine plan the development of their infrastructure, an essential part of building healthy communities and a strong economy.

After years of conflict and neglect, the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip face many challenges in the provision of basic infrastructure such as water and energy. There is an acute water crisis, underpinned by energy shortages that restrict the capacity of water treatment, water transfer and wastewater management. Transport infrastructure is all road-based and restricted due to security measures, cutting Palestine off from access to external markets. The current demand for services far outstrips available resources and this is expected to only become more severe with population growth, increasing urbanisation and climate change.

While public funds in Palestine are not sufficient to meet the level of investment required to solve the infrastructure problems, there are opportunities to attract additional funds from governments, private companies and donor investment. Investors, however, must be assured that the country can devise and implement an effective plan to deliver the funded infrastructure services.

Infrastructure assessment for Palestine

Working with the UN, we are providing the Palestinian Authority with the necessary tools and information to make evidence-based decisions in the development of a national infrastructure plan. Using our system-of-systems modelling approach, our researchers are examining the Palestine’s current and future needs, assessing the interdependencies between services, and evaluating strategies for meeting the population’s needs and improving infrastructure resilience.

A key step in this work has been the development of a ‘Fast Track’ systems-based assessment of current and future infrastructure needs. With a focus on the Palestinian context, our researchers are able to provide insight into how infrastructure services currently operate, as well as what constrains their capacity. An assessment of the drivers of future demand and overall trends provides a clear picture of what plans are needed for infrastructure provision.

Our researchers have developed possible scenarios for Palestine based on the findings, whether the aim is to maintain current infrastructure provision into the future with various levels of self-sufficiency, or to pursue increasing economic growth and improving infrastructure provision through higher infrastructure investment.

The challenge ahead

A number of major infrastructure projects are now underway or being planned in order to deliver the necessary services to Palestine. However, with the likelihood of population growth and the uncertainty of climate change, these measures will still fail to meet the most basic needs in the near future.

The Palestinian Authority faces a complex and challenging task ahead. Our researchers and their work on the NISMOD-Int are providing the necessary knowledge and enhancing the capacity of the Palestinian Authority to meet these challenges.