Infrastructure development and enviromental impact

PublicationsInfrastructure development and enviromental impact

By: Laura Montaño and David Cruz

Development of transportation infrastructure in Colombia has required the mobilization of large financial resources for the projects, especially for the Fourth Generation (4G) Roads
program. The 4G are the most ambitious concessions national program of the Colombian Nation in the last years that seeks to intervene around 8.000 kilometers in roads with an investment of nearly 50 billion pesos. One outstanding feature of the program is that all road projects have been structured under the scope/ figure of Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Notwithstanding, as infrastructure megaprojects grow in the country, environmental
disasters increase. In the last year situations as the oil spill of the Lizama Well 158, the fall of the Chirajara bridge and the recent failure of the Hidroituango Hydroelectric plant occurred.
The two most important premises that justify the use of the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) scheme for the development of infrastructure are:

1) The need for infrastructure is so evident that it is necessary to inject large amounts of money in this sector, that contribute to the economic growth of the country and to reducing poverty.

2) Public resources are not enough, making it necessary to actively involve the private sector in financing and providing infrastructure, and generate “attractive” conditions for
companies and investors to participate. In this respect it is said that PPPs are the ideal mechanism to leverage the private sector and an ideal way of financing development projects.

Therefore, it is important to examine how the main infrastructure projects are being financed, understand the role of the Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) in this financing, and ask ourselves what is happening in the planning of these mega projects and the contingency measures that are being taken with respect to the environment, in the structuring of the corresponding contracts.

Since the issuance of the National Development Plan 2010- 2014 and of Public Private Partnerships Law number 1508 of 2012 and through the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), the Government prompted the structuring of fourth generation of road projects in the country with the participation of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank for planning of its funding framework.

Conpes 3760 establishes the road corridors and the initial project groups to be structured by ANI that conform the road concessions fourth generation program. So far, the National Infrastructure Agency has registered in its site a total of 32 concessions or projects among PPP projects of public and private initiative. It is important to note that the present National Development Plan 2018-2022 prompts the termination of the 4G projects, specifically in the “Agreement for transportation and logistics for competitiveness and regional integration” where it appears that one of the Government goals shall be “to conclude, conclude, conclude all works initiated under public work schemes and Public Private Partnerships” (DNP 2019).

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