How can we ensure resilient public investment in the future?

High-Level Meeting of Central American National Public Investment Systems

10-13th November 2021 in Punta Cana, DomRep — At the high-level meeting on “The Role of Public Investment in the Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery”, relevant stakeholders and government officials from Latin America and the Caribbean discussed (national) experiences, lessons learned, perspectives and promising measures to foster resilient, inclusive, and sustainable public investment in the future. Participants agreed that public investment complements private investment strategies in the countries and that, while especially imperative in the context of public investments, systemic risks need to be integrated into all project planning processes to ensure sustainable development.

The seminar was organized by the Central American Institute of Public Administration (ICAP), which forms part of the international organization of the Central American Integration System (SICA), and the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development in Dominican Republic. Besides representatives from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic, a wide range of different actors and experts participated:

  • The executive secretaries of the Coordination Center for Disaster Prevention in Central America and the Dominican Republic (CEPREDENAC),
  • the Council of Ministers of Finance or Finance of Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (COSEFIN),
  • the director of the Subregional Headquarters in Mexico of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC),
  • ICAP authorities,
  • OSSO Corporation (Southwestern Seismological Observatory),
  • UNDRR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction),
  • GIZ,
  • and other public investment, risk management and climate change adaptation specialists.

Risk-informed development to ensure resilient public investment

Through risk-informed development, the sustainability of specific investment projects can be ensured and integrated into development plans at the local level. This reduces risks from the beginning of the project and during its duration. The involvement of the local population and an all-society approach ensuring the inclusion of a wide range of voices is an important step towards integrating local knowledge into the regional development planning and thus addressing the needs of the population—especially those least resilient in face of risks, crises and disasters.

Efforts by governments to advance the coherence between the 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda, the SDGs and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in their countries need to be strengthened. Disaster risk management must be an integral part of development policy. Thereby, investments in e.g. critical infrastructure can be safeguarded while also promoting intersectoral approaches. Working in silos is no longer an option and cooperation needs to be adapted to these new conditions.

The high-level seminar has been a space for dialogue and reflection resulting in (1) agreements between the public investment directorates of the seven participating countries and (2) a roadmap to move towards resilient, inclusive, and sustainable public investment—the Punta Cana charter.

INCENTIVA: Regional project by ICAP

Since January 2021, ICAP has been developing the regional project called INCENTIVA (Central American Initiative for Public Investment with Added Value), financed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through its project, Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management. INCENTIVA seeks to strengthen national public investment systems through methodological and technological tools that generate public value in the management of public investment projects and contribute to the post-pandemic economic recovery in face of systemic risks. According to ICAP, it is imperative for countries to adopt efficient, creative, and innovative public policies with a view to strategically framing short-, medium- and long-term plans based on effective development guidelines that promote optimal conditions for post-pandemic economic recovery.