DFID’s infrastructure position paper states that ‘improved infrastructure service provision is crucial to delivering DFID’s economic and human development objectives’ (DFID 2013) This work includes energy, transport, water and sanitation, information communications technology (ICT), housing and urban infrastructure (DFID 2015). Infrastructure is central to achieving economic development and providing poor people with opportunities to escape poverty. ‘Reliable, accessible energy, transport and communication services support increased productivity, facilitate trade and create an environment in which business can flourish’ (DFID 2015). Access to infrastructure enables people to take advantage of economic opportunities and access markets, jobs, information and training. However, in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, many hundreds of millions of people still lack access to electricity, transport and water and sanitation and inadequate infrastructure is consistently identified as a major barrier to doing business (DFID 2015). DFID’s recent infrastructure aims included: water, sanitation and hygiene programmes, building rural roads and providing sustainable energy services. They do this through multiple partners in multiple countries (DFID 2015).
The report gives many recommendations but the literature and particularly Kircherr and his team (who have worked and published on this issue) includes these two key recommendations to strengthen adoption of international social safeguards:
- Fund environmental NGOs that function as the watchdogs for many private sector players
- Strengthen legislation/enforcement capabilities in host countries