9 Jul 2013

UN tells Pacific to build with future in mind

5:10 am on 9 July 2013

Pacific nations meeting in Fiji on climate change and disasters have been told to invest in more long-term infrastructure.

The special representative of the UN secretary general on disaster risk reduction Margareta Wahlstrom says there is a tendency to ignore future risks when planning and investing in projects.

She says huge amounts of old infrastructure in the world, including the Pacific, are of poor quality and not maintained.

Ms Wahlstrom says it's impossible to try and fix all the old infrastructure, but governments and other institutions should think about climate and disaster risks and build for 50 to 75 years.

"After a few years see the road full of potholes and keep repairing it after every flood season, after every that happens, you need to go back and repair it. I think that is the issue, investing and planning for resilience - a saving today for tomorrow."

Margareta Wahlstrom says governments with short terms in power may not be keen to spend for the future, but it has to be done.