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Institution of Civil Engineers

07 Oct 2011 09:10:19

Engineering community welcomes international development select committee report

Leading engineering bodies have today welcomed recommendations from MPs that infrastructure is given more prominence in government's international development strategy.

Engineers Against Poverty (EAP), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (the Academy) made a joint submission to the International Development Committee report in March of this year, calling for the Department for International Development (DFID) to develop a comprehensive infrastructure strategy to promote the role of infrastructure in helping developing countries meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The International Development Committee's report, out today, has adopted all of the group's recommendations – a full list is below.

Speaking on behalf of the engineering community (EAP, ICE and the Academy) Professor Paul Jowitt, past president ICE and chairman EAP, said: "Developing countries cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goals without effective transport, water, energy and waste systems. However historically the criticality of effective infrastructure for growth and development has been under-recognised in government's strategy.

"If we really want our money to make a difference, infrastructure development – including implementing local procurement practices to build domestic engineering and construction capacity and encouraging openness through the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) – must be prioritised."

The group recommended that:
 DFID develop a comprehensive infrastructure strategy
 The strategy should recognise the importance of the local engineering and construction sector in achieving economic growth
 A senior civil servant in DFID should take ownership for the strategy
 DFID recognise the success of CoST by providing financial support.
 DFID work more with the UK engineering and construction community to better leverage the expertise and capability they can provide.

Jowitt added: "We have long been calling for recognition of infrastructure development as a key factor in international development and sincerely hope that government will take heed of the Select Committee's recommendations."

Engineers Against Poverty and the Institution of Civil Engineers were members of the International Secretariat led by PriceWaterhouse Coopers that managed the CoST pilot on behalf of DFID. The World Bank has approved $1.5m over three years in support of CoST. The details of the grant agreement are expected to be finalised before the end of October.

For further information contact Emily Beadon.

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