Golder Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) expert, Roberto Mezzalama, participated in a workshop organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) that brought together a wide range of key stakeholders from across civil society and government to discuss ways to ensure inclusive infrastructure for sustainable development. The workshop was attended by a group of 40 experts from various UN agencies, development NGOs and universities, with Golder as the sole engineering industry representative.
The workshop provided a platform to discuss solutions for improving infrastructure projects such that they have a positive impact on the excluded and vulnerable groups of population and contribute to reducing inequalities, while at the same time contributing to environmental sustainability. Golder’s Mezzalama shared his ideas based on his experience leading several of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for developments in the power, mining, transportation, manufacturing and oil and gas sectors in Europe, North America, Central Asia and Africa.
To achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, an extraordinary effort in building new infrastructures is needed, since For new infrastructures to maximize their benefits for local communities and minimize negative impacts over the environment, one of the main strategies is to increase participation during the entire life of infrastructures, or in other words, to make infrastructures more inclusive.
“The ability to include considerations of climate change adaptation and mitigation, social inclusion and natural resources conservation and rehabilitation in infrastructure development is going to be an essential component of the engineering business in the coming decades,” said Roberto Mezzalama. “In this context, the Golder’s experience in conducting Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, facilitating public participation and delivering climate change studies is going to be extremely beneficial to infrastructure stakeholders including developers, regulators and communities.”
The outcomes of this workshop will directly inform the development of Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) guidance and a report on inclusive infrastructure. This work will build upon key ongoing initiatives such as the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment and Global Infrastructure Hub’s Reference Tool for Inclusive Infrastructure.