IDB Launches Infrastructure Data Observatories For Investments In The Caribbean

(CMC) — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says it will launch three data observatories to plan infrastructure investments and speed up development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The Washington-based financial institution said the observatories, jointly developed with other international partners, will provide access to “reliable and up-to-date data” in the water and sanitation, energy, and transportation sectors.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, data availability is limited. This hinders efforts to optimise sector planning, develop effective public policies and use existing infrastructure. It also discourages private sector investments.

The IDB said the observatories will aim to overcome the limited availability of data in the three sectors.

“Current information, in addition to being scarce, tends to be outdated, incomplete and low quality by international standards,” it said, adding that the observatories will operate through web platforms.

While they will be open to the general public, the IDB said they will be of particular interest to stakeholders involved in developing public policies and infrastructure in the region.

“One expected result is increased knowledge of best infrastructure policies for the region that will, in turn, favour the development and deployment of clean technologies,” the IDB said.

It said the Latin America and the Caribbean Energy Hub will be the first one to be launched on September 28, in collaboration with other partners, in particular with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE).

The IDB said the hub’s objective is to set up a digital platform that gathers data from across the region to boost research and dissemination of experiences. It will also promote energy policy innovation, creative research and inter-sectoral collaboration to help regional countries tackle their energy challenges.

In transport, it said the Observatory of Human Mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean will be managed by the IDB and CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, to collect and process information from 29 cities throughout the region.

The IDB said this observatory will produce data based on four pillars of the mobility agenda; universal access, efficiency and quality, safety, and clean mobility.

Additionally, this observatory will promote the adoption of data analytics to help cities design public policies on mobility, the IDB said.

It said the Latin American and the Caribbean Water and Sanitation Observatory (OLAS) will be a platform containing “reliable, comparable, timely and consistent information to help monitor progress on sustainable development goals associated with water and sanitation”.

“In theory, all players and researchers in the sector will use it to help design effective public policies and in general promote sector development,” the IDB said, adding that other international organisations such as UNICEF, AECID, SDC and SWA have joined this initiative to support countries that are part of the Latin American Water and Sanitation Conference.

The IDB said data from all three observatories have already paved the way for the design of state-of-the-art knowledge products, including one of the IDB’ flagship publications: DIA 2020, “From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

“This document focuses on providing basic infrastructure services and assessing the evolution and current situation of services in terms of access, quality and affordability,” the IDB said.

In addition, it said the document provides policy options to help countries improve those services.