Environmentally sound infrastructure construction is a key to sustainable economic growth in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. In order to improve knowledge, capacity and results in LAC infrastructure projects, the World Bank, with the support of the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean, is undertaking a project to develop an internet-based Knowledge Platform on Environmentally Sustainable Construction in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The intended users of the knowledge platform (KP) are technical specialists working at governmental agencies, construction companies, consulting firms or universities that deal with managing environment issues in infrastructure construction in LAC.
In the context of this KP, environmentally sustainable infrastructure construction is defined as the sound management of project construction related environmental impacts and risks, and moving beyond just regulatory compliance to promoting positive environmental and social impacts and implementation of good practices. The knowledge platform will consider not only the construction phase of the project, but also the planning, design, operation and maintenance phases which are also key to developing environmentally sustainable infrastructure.
The success of the platform depends directly on user participation, involvement, and exchange among users.
Why a Knowledge Platform?
Knowledge is the basis of good environmental management.
Today, the volume of available environmental management information is significant and is constantly changing and improving, thus it is often difficult to find or obtain the most relevant and useful information. In order to facilitate access and usage, it is necessary to promote the exchange of knowledge in an effective way, creating tools to share, replicate and scale up successful experiences in sustainable development. The knowledge platform aims to provide a “one stop shop" where information is easily accessible.
The main objectives of the platform are to increase the capacity to carry out environmentally sustainable infrastructure construction projects in the region, improve good practices, facilitate knowledge sharing, and improve professional development of technical experts working on environmental infrastructure management projects in LAC.
There are several ways to improve the knowledge and capacity of environmental experts’ thus increasing efficiency and effectiveness. Potential components of the platform are:
· About Us (Objectives, Mission, Members)
· Virtual Library (Technical reports, Guidelines, Manuals, Webinars, blogs, etc.)
· News and Events
· Knowledge Exchange (Seminars, Consult an Expert, Networking, etc.)
· Best Practices / Lessons Learned
· Social Networks
How are we developing the Knowledge Platform?
This initiative will be developed over two years in three main phases. Currently, the development of the knowledge platform conceptual model (first phase) is finishing.
The next phase will be the development and programming of the platform. The World Bank will soon release an international Request for Proposals to contract a firm to develop the knowledge platform.
The last phase will be the operation and maintenance of the platform. The World Bank will publish another international tender to seek an entity or consortium of firms, with a strong technical expertise in environmental management of infrastructure construction, to operate and maintain the knowledge platform.
A key aspect of the platform is to define and implement a way to maintain its sustainability after the first two years, thus various sustainability models are being evaluated. A Steering Committee may be created to provide oversight in the KP development and implementation.
For more information about this Knowledge Platform, see this document (in Spanish).