In recent decades, the small island developing state of St. Lucia has made significant strides in its development, due in no small part to major investments in its national infrastructure. Yet today, as with many of its peers in the Caribbean, much of the country’s infrastructure—from roads to schools and hospitals—is under pressure from the impacts of intensifying disaster and climate risks. In 2010, Hurricane Tomas resulted in more than $330 million in damages to economic, social, and natural assets across St. Lucia. 

The government of St. Lucia is fully committed to reducing disaster and climate risks to its national infrastructure, cognizant of its importance for the country’s financial resilience and wider development agenda. Building upon resilience measures for critical infrastructure under the World Bank’s Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, a team has provided the government with training and technical assistance on the design and implementation of St. Lucia’s first-ever risk-based infrastructure asset management system. The team was supported by GFDRR and the World Bank, in partnership with the European Union (EU), within the framework of the EU-funded Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility (CRRBF)

A key focus of the team’s initial engagement with their counterparts, which included the Ministry of Finance and the National Integrated Planning and Programme (NIPP) Unit, was to demonstrate the value and importance of risk-based asset management for infrastructure. At the most basic level, as the team emphasized, a risk-based approach to infrastructure asset management would enable the government of St. Lucia to incorporate assessments of disaster and climate risks, among other risks, into how they prioritize investments across the national infrastructure. In doing so, the government would be able to optimize its investments in such a way that these are directed where vulnerabilities in the national infrastructure are the greatest and where limited financial resources can be used most efficiently. From a fiscal standpoint, the result would be a reduction in the cost of disaster impacts on critical infrastructure, a goal that was a cornerstone of the country’s disaster risk financing strategy approved in 2018. 

The team also worked closely with their counterparts from St. Lucia to unpack the main challenges and opportunities with regard to the design and implementation of risk-based infrastructure asset management. One identified opportunity was that the NIPP Unit, the lead coordinating agency for infrastructure resilience, had a clear mandate to carry out this new approach to infrastructure asset management. On the other hand, an identified challenge was the lack of requisite staffing within the NIPP Unit. 

Subsequently, the team worked closely with their St. Lucian counterparts so that they could gain hands-on practical training at every step of the development of a risk-based asset management system. Some of the key steps covered included the identification of assets, the condition assessment and valuation of those assets, the development of protocols for asset prioritization and maintenance and repair, and overall ownership of the asset management system. The NIPP Unit has since taken the lead in developing a roadmap for the development of risk-based asset management based on these steps. 

As the government of St. Lucia moves ahead with risk-based asset management for its national infrastructure as part of its broader disaster risk financing strategy, GFDRR and the World Bank are firmly committed to supporting that effort for the long haul. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the facility and the World Bank are also on the frontlines of supporting risk-based asset management for infrastructure in Anguilla, Grenada, and Montserrat. 

GFDRR and World Bank support of risk-based infrastructure asset engagement only deepen a long-standing partnership for resilience-building with St. Lucia. Recent support has involved technical assistance toward ensuring the country’s business continuity in the face of disasters and climate change, as well as analytical work unpacking the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of gender and disaster risk management.

South Africa

View more results stories from fiscal year 2023 in GFDRR's Annual Report 2023.