The economy of Latin America and the Caribbean countries has provided the means for an accelerated expansion of infrastructure construction in the region. In this context, promoting environmentally sustainable construction has become an essential element for achieving green growth. Sustainable infrastructure is fundamental for growth and inclusion, particularly in low- and middle-income countries such as in Latin America and the Caribbean region. In these countries, a key to successfully developing environmentally sustainable infrastructure is sharing knowledge and experience among specialists and building their technical capacity. Furthermore, the need in the region for acquiring specific knowledge regarding the latest innovations and best practices on environmental sustainability in the construction industry, as well as strengthening capacities for their correct implementation, has become a priority. In the past years, the region has experienced a revolutionary technological advance, providing an ideal scenario for developing a web-based knowledge platform allowing easy and inclusive access to knowledge and experience exchange between concerned parties. The impact of increasing access to knowledge on best practices for sustainable construction activities will help support these countries in complying with international standards and will ensure that they reach their environmental and sustainability goals.
The objective of the grant for the project Knowledge Platform: Environmentally Sustainable Infrastructure Construction was to develop a bilingual (English and Spanish) web-based knowledge platform in Latin America and the Caribbean to enhance skills, knowledge, and capacity to perform construction in an environmentally sustainable manner. Principal objectives are to (i) increase the capacity to develop environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects, (ii) improve good practices and enhance project results and outcomes, (iii) provide a reliable source of information, and (iv) offer specialized knowledge services to technical specialists. This knowledge platform, known as KPESIC, encompasses within the term sustainable environmental management the sound management skills needed to mitigate negative environmental, social, and health and safety impacts and risks from infrastructure projects as well as the skills and approaches needed to improve positive impacts or benefits to achieve more sustainable projects. The focus is on infrastructure sectors of transport (roads, rail, ports, and airports), energy (generation, transmission, and distribution), water and sanitation (water supply and distribution and wastewater collection and treatment), and urban development. The intention behind the platform is to provide knowledge resources to technical specialists working at governmental agencies, construction companies, or universities who are charged with managing environment issues in infrastructure construction. KPESIC deals with the project construction phase but also with the planning, design, operation, and maintenance phases, all of which are crucial in establishing environmentally sustainable infrastructure.