Upgrading Infrastructure and Housing to Reduce Poverty in Pacific Island Countries

| Sarath Mataraarachchi and Kayla Lochner

Pacific Island nations are currently facing complex challenges. Addressing rapid urbanisation coupled with lack of priority infrastructure, among other environmental, political, social and economic complexities, is significant to ensuring safe, sustainable and healthy housing provision.

It is common that current planning processes for major infrastructure projects do not adequately address local needs and lack accountability and transparency. Communicating infrastructure changes are also important for local uptake and engagement. Limited local participation in large scale infrastructure projects has created systemic infrastructure deficits resulting in poor housing outcomes for communities.

However, renewed interest in localisation, particularly in the context of COVID-19, provides an opportunity to explore how investment in housing and infrastructure can best deliver community outcomes. Overcoming barriers to engagement and engaging long-term policy change is an important step forward for research, donors and practitioners.

Building on previous work on green infrastructure, Dr Sarath Mataraarachchi (UNSW Built Environment Pacific Initiative), supported by the UNSW Institute for Global Development, is working with the Asian Development Bank Institute and the University of the South Pacific on a virtual policy dialogue and conference exploring infrastructure upgrading and housing for poverty reduction in Pacific Island nations. 

Papers presented at the policy dialogue will be based on the outcomes of the case studies, research, observations, and proposed policy directions to overcome challenges to infrastructure and housing development for poverty reduction in Pacific Island contexts. 

The virtual policy dialogue will be held with a focus on localisation, infrastructure planning and capacity strengthening. Pacific actors will be represented by government representatives and researchers. Importantly, the dialogue brings together government, private sector, academic and policy actors to explore approaches and case studies into infrastructure and housing development in Pacific Island contexts.

The policy dialogue is by invitation only. For more information, please contact Dr Sarath Mataraarachchi (s.mataraarachchi@unsw.edu.au).