Willemstad – According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations, the Caribbean will experience more and more extreme weather conditions. In particular, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) are expected to see an increase in air temperature, a decrease in rainfall, an increase in hurricane intensity, and a rise in sea level.
For these reasons, the next international Conference on Resilient Infrastructure to be held on May 8th and 9th in Curacao will address the way evidence-based investments and policies in national infrastructure can be used to support long-term sustainable and resilient development against risks.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is working with the Government of Curacao in its objective of adapting its management of infrastructure in a way that will be resilient to different future changes in the country and region, including the effects of climate change and an economy less reliant on fossil fuels.
“Our infrastructure is vital for the functioning of Curacao today and its future success. Therefore, it should be optimized, efficient and resilient. In that context, cross-sectoral long-term planning is essential for maximizing the full potential of our island for the benefit of all its people. “stated Zita Jesus-Leito, Minister of Traffic, Transportation and Urban Planning.
Curacao leading the way in the Caribbean for infrastructure planning
The Curacao Ministry of Traffic, Transportation and Urban Planning and UNOPS have worked together with stakeholders in Curacao since 2016 towards developing the Evidence Based Infrastructure (EBI) approach, notably the National Infrastructure model.
This as part of a global initiative by UNOPS and a consortium of UK universities led by Oxford University (ITRC-MISTRAL) to support countries in making evidence-based decisions for a more resilient infrastructure against future developments and challenges, for instance, climate change. As a first of its kind in the Caribbean region, the model is a unique component that uses open-source software to simulate the future of national infrastructure systems across multiple sectors.
The first outputs of the model have been used to develop an understanding of Curacao’s current and future infrastructure needs and to explore options for how those needs can be met. Infrastructure sectors such as wastewater, water, energy or waste have been analyzed, highlighting key challenges for the long term.
The risks of sea level rise and storm flooding have been assessed on the road network and on critical buildings, such as health or education. Being a first step to implement the EBI framework, the model has the potential to further support decision making in infrastructure in Curacao that can have positive effect on economy, environment, and the broader society.
Curacao Resilient Infrastructure Conference May 8-9, 2018
During the Resilient Infrastructure Conference in May the first results will be shared. Delegations from different countries from the Dutch and English Caribbean will be participating in the event. Experts from the Environmental Change Institute of the Oxford University and the University of Southampton will also participate.
On the first day, the government of Curacao will open the Resilient Infrastructure Conference. Curacao government and UNOPS will present the results, recommendations, best practices, and evidence-based data of the EBI fast-track analyses and the long-term infrastructure planning model.
On the second day, work sessions will be held regarding the best practices and modules that refine the possibilities to ensure long term viability from the evidence-based approach.
The work sessions will address how evidence-based investments and policies in national infrastructure can be used to support long-term sustainable and resilient development against risks such as seal level rises or heavy rainfalls.
Additionally, this conference will serve as a forum for consideration and open discussion on the most pressing issues for the countries in the region concerning resilient societies and infrastructure.