Title: Building for the Future: A Framework for Sustainable Road Construction in Lao PDR
Author: Marc Kalina
Keywords: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT/ INFRASTRUCTURE/ ROAD CONSTRUCTION/ LAO PDR/ GREATER MEKONG SUB-REGION/ ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Abstract:The purpose of this study is to propose a framework for sustainable infrastructure development in the Greater Mekong Subregion, learning from the experience of road construction in Lao PDR. The main research question is to discover what knowledge can we glean from past infrastructure development in the Greater Mekong Subregion and Lao PDR which would facilitate the creation of a more sustainable development model. The information used in this study was gathered through extensive literature research in addition to interviews with key actors involved with the construction and monitoring of Highway 9 in Southern Lao PDR.
Analysis of both infrastructure and sustainable development reaffinns the value of infrastructure towards the improvement of human welfare, yet points out its deficiencies, notably its strain on the natural environment. Furthermore, the concept of sustainable development, with a definition that focuses on maintenance of the natural capital stock, is explored, which appears to be an attractive path towards mitigating infrastructures harmful side-effects. Additionally, the case study of road construction in Southern Lao PDR illustrates the environmental impacts of this development, with a focus on specific deficiencies within the construction process.
Based on both the literature analysis and case study a framework for sustainable infrastructure development is presented. This framework focuses on the four dimensions of a project, as observed in the case study: Sound planning, sound implementation, effective monitoring, and accountability. Recommendations are presented which would introduce the maxim of sustainable development to each development phase. Examples of these recommendations include: Environmental valuation and cost-benefits analyses in the assessment and planning stage, increased monitoring by governmental regulatory agencies, and a transparent bidding process to counter corruption.
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