IDB Launches Infrastructure Data Observatories

The energy, transport, and water and sanitation observatories will increase the availability of reliable data in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will launch three data observatories to plan infrastructure investments and speed up development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The observatories, jointly developed with other international partners, will provide access to reliable and up-to-date data in the water and sanitation, energy, and transportation sectors.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, data availability is limited. This hinders efforts to optimize sector planning, develop effective public policies and use existing infrastructure. It also discourages private sector investments. The observatories will aim to overcome the limited availability of data in the three sectors. Current information, in addition to being scarce, tends to be outdated, incomplete and low quality by international standards.

The observatories will operate through web platforms. While they will be open to the general public, they will be of particular interest to stakeholders involved in developing public policies and infrastructure in the region. One expected result is increased knowledge of best infrastructure policies for the region that will in turn favor the development and deployment of clean technologies.

The Latin America and the Caribbean Energy Hub will be the first one to be launched on September 28, in collaboration with other partners, in particular with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE). The Hub’s objective is to set up a digital platform that gathers data from across the region to boost research and dissemination of experiences. It will also promote energy policy innovation, creative research, and intersectoral collaboration to help Latin American countries tackle their energy challenges.

In transport, the Observatory of Human Mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean will be managed by the IDB and CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, to collect and process information from 29 cities throughout the region. This observatory will produce data based on four pillars of the mobility agenda: universal access; efficiency and quality; safety; and clean mobility. Additionally, it will promote the adoption of data analytics to help cities design public policies on mobility.

The Latin American and the Caribbean Water and Sanitation Observatory (OLAS) will be a platform containing reliable, comparable, timely and consistent information to help monitor progress on Sustainable Development Goals associated with water and sanitation. In theory, all players and researchers in the sector will use it to help design effective public policies and in general promote sector development. Other international organizations such as UNICEF, AECID, SDC and SWA have joined this initiative to support countries that are part of the Latin American Water and Sanitation Conference (Latinosan).

Data from all three observatories have already paved the way for the design of state-of-the-art knowledge products, including one of the IDB’ flagship publications: DIA 2020, “From Structures to Services: The Path to Better Infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean”. This document focuses on providing basic infrastructure services and assessing the evolution and current situation of services in terms of access, quality and affordability. In addition, it provides policy options to help countries improve those services.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides loans, grants and guarantees, the IDB conducts cutting-edge research to offer innovative and sustainable solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges. Founded in 1959 to help accelerate progress in its developing member countries, the IDB continues to work every day to improve lives.