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Quality infrastructure and investments in priority sectors drive sustainable development  by reducing inequalities and improving access to health, education, public services and income opportunities. A number of global and regional agreements have recognized the importance of quality infrastructure and investments, including the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan 2023-2030 which explicitly prioritizes improved policies and legislation to promote and attract quality investment for resilient,  sustainable and inclusive economic development in the Pacific region.

A practical guidance note

Recognizing the challenges governments of many Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) face when planning and implementing investment projects, ESCAP has published a practical guidance note on the basic requirements. This guidance draws on the experience of PSIDS over the decades to help improve public investment outcomes through forward-looking project cycles that:

  • ensure well formulated projects aligned to national sustainable development strategies and stakeholders’ interests;
  • use limited domestic resources wisely and leverage development partner support; and
  • deliver results that make tangible improvements.

The guidance note provides an overview of investment planning within the public sector, and indicates issues and references which can be further researched and sourced for detailed learning and application to fast track socio-economic development outcomes. It also assumes a degree of prior knowledge of government systems and processes such as national planning, the annual budget cycle and aid coordination and management within which an effective project cycle can be identified and delivered by specific milestones.

Application of good practices based on national context

It is critical to follow the key technical stages for applying an effective investment and project cycle. However, as each Pacific SIDS is unique, how the project planning cycle is applied will depend on the organizational, decision-making and administrative arrangements that are in place. Based on common technical issues and shared experiences in Pacific SIDS, general guidance is provided for practitioners aiming to improve their project cycles for better investment outcomes in synergy with national development objectives.

Issues to think through in a project cycle

The guidance note contains specific sections which build on each step of the public investment and project cycle, in the context of the wider national planning and budget framework within which investment projects are a key component. For example, it discusses the role of the budget for guiding project choice and mobilizing resources.

Generic Project Cycle from Public Investment and Project Planning: A Guidance Note for Pacific Island Countries

Using the generic project cycle, the characteristics and decision-making requirements at each stage are essential to deliver on the national development goals. Several technical issues need to be applied to make each stage of the cycle more effective, including: understanding the role of multi-stakeholder engagement; designing a logical result-based project approach; costing the inputs; measuring time-bound progress; identifying assumptions and risks; and assessing options for mobilization of resources.

Explore the guidance note

The guidance note signposts the basic issues to be considered for quality infrastructure and investment project choices and delivery in the Pacific SIDS. While the issues are not new, the reinforcement of good practices - in the context of the Pacific - is critical, as evidenced by a recent capacity building workshop on Public Investment Planning and Management, organized by the Government of Samoa, the International Monetary Fund, the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre and the ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific.

Photo credit: Ministry of Finance, Samoa

Capacity Building Workshop on Public Investment Planning and Management

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Sanjesh Naidu
Economic Affairs Officer, Subregional Office for the Pacific
Subregional Office for the Pacific +679 331-9669 [email protected]