Infrastructure and peacebuilding

from Australian Agency for International Development
Published on 12 Dec 2012 View Original

Rebuilding infrastructure is a critical need in areas emerging from violent conflict. By supporting infrastructure initiatives, Australia contributes to building an environment where jobs can be created, services are delivered and communities are connected.

We rehabilitate infrastructure by working closely with partner governments, the private sector and international financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. This allows us to combine resources (financial, human, and other), leverage knowledge and deliver economic benefits to local communities.

Basic infrastructure services provide a tangible way for governments to build community confidence in a more prosperous future. Infrastructure programs can provide quick employment to youth and former combatants in conflict-affected areas. Improving roads can have flow-on effects in many areas of the economy, for example by enabling farmers to reach markets. Water supply and sanitation improves health and the general quality of life, while repairing and expanding access to electricity facilitates commercial activity. Infrastructure also improves other basic services such as health clinics, schools and law and justice facilities.

AusAID has extensive experience providing infrastructure in areas emerging from violent conflict. In Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, a $45 million program to rehabilitate over 600km of roads, following a decade of conflict, had significant impacts. Two hundred permanent jobs have been generated in the local road construction industry. The program has created more than 10,000 minor road network contracts with community groups, injecting over $7 million into the rural economy. The restoration of mobility in Bougainville is critical for repairing the fabric of civil society and communities. By linking towns and villages in previously remote areas, people now have opportunities to attend reconciliation ceremonies and are closer to law and justice services. The roads help the government provide services to its citizens, increasing access to health and education facilities throughout Bougainville. Infrastructure provides a means for diffusing and reconciling social tensions, addressing both the drivers and impact of conflict.