New Report: Saint Lucia’s national infrastructure assessment
Infrastructure forms the backbone of Saint Lucia’s society, delivering services that provide for the daily needs of its citizens while supporting a strong tourism-based economy that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the island each year. However, the island faces economic vulnerabilities due to its small size and reliance on imports, while its geography leaves it exposed to natural hazards such as flooding and landslides that threaten lives and livelihoods. As a result of climate change, the intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes affecting the island is likely to increase. Human-caused disasters, as exemplified by the current COVID-19 pandemic, can have also have devastating impacts on development and economic outcomes.
At the same time, Saint Lucia possesses a wealth of resources that can be harnessed to support sustainable growth and increase the country’s resilience to extreme weather events. The island’s natural beauty, favourable renewable energy conditions, and agricultural potential provide it with opportunities to develop a sustainable and self-sufficient economy. Recognising this, decisionmakers in government and the private sector have a responsibility to deepen the understanding of these challenges and opportunities, and to best position infrastructure as a driver of sustainable development. For example, by modelling future energy and water needs, policy-makers can take appropriate long-term actions to counter fossil fuel dependency and minimise water shortages. Utilising a range of available spatial data on natural hazards can help prioritise risk-reduction initiatives across physical and natural assets and inform the building of new development projects. An understanding of the interactions and impacts between infrastructure sectors can help identify efficient and cost-effective actions to achieve strategic national targets and objectives.
This report establishes the first milestone in a partnership between the Government of Saint Lucia (GoSL), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the University of Oxford-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium (ITRC). The purpose of the report is to establish a vision for the island’s future infrastructure aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Long-term demand for infrastructure services in Saint Lucia is projected to increase as it pursues economic ambitions to grow its tourism and agriculture sectors.