Dr Martin van Veelen, Sam Amod and Malcolm Pautz, three past presidents of SAICE combined their knowledge and experience to produce a guide on how to prepare an Infrastructure Report Card (IRC) which will be used internationally to aid engineering organisations to produce score cards. The guide has been submitted to the Independent Group of Scientists in preparation for the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report.
The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) represents the Engineering Industry at the United Nations (UN) by means of their participation in the Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community. The Major Group, together with other Major Groups, forms the High Level Political Forum that has direct access to the UN General Assembly. This enables civil society to actively participate in global affairs. During a meeting of the WFEO-UN Relations Committee in Kyoto, it was deduced that WFEO would produce a report on the global state of infrastructure, which may be used in conjunction with the UN report on achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The (SDG) are international development goals which all member states adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit which took place at the UN headquarters in September 2015. In which all member states agreed to be achieved by 2030. 17 SDG together with 169 associated targets are; integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable. Which consider the differing national realities, capacities and levels of development, and in doing so respect national policies and priorities.
Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition, but taking into account national circumstances. Each government will also decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies and strategies.
Achieving the SDGs is almost entirely dependent on the presence of effective and fully operational infrastructure. Infrastructure may be defined as the assets that a society develops, owns and utilizes in order to improve the standard of living and the quality of life. It enables economic development and fosters a resilient society.
Infrastructure can only be an asset if it is maintained in optimum working condition. Governments have to report to what degree they achieve their set goals in terms of the SDGs, but they seldom report on the state of the infrastructure, which is required to achieve these goals.
IRC’s have been used in various countries to report on the state of infrastructure. Provided it is done unemotionally, objectively and based on the available solid data, it serves the purpose of informing society as to whether or not they have the necessary infrastructure to achieve their aspirations. Engineering organisations are in the veracious position to produce infrastructure report cards, as they have access to a vast pool of knowledge and expertise, and can play the role of an honest broker between civil society and government.
The Infrastructure Report Card Guide was produced as a guideline for individual engineering organisations with proposed minimum requirements without the intention of being prescriptive in order to encourage them to produce their own IRC. Provided that the minimum requirements are adhered to, it becomes possible to combine individual scorecards into a regional, continental and even global scorecard that can be submitted to the UN General Assembly through the High Level Political Forum. Through this medium engineering organisations can make a real contribution towards achieving the SDGs by focusing attention on where infrastructure is lacking or dysfunctional.

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