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Inclusive Roads: UNIDO & ORIS sign groundbreaking partnership


UNIDO and ORIS sign partnership agreement to create a groundbreaking initiative to optimise large road infrastructure projects and the delivery of sustainable and inclusive rural roads

July 10, 2023


The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has signed with ORIS, the first construction materials platform for low impact infrastructure, a Cooperation Project Agreement to develop a unique innovative program for rural roads. Through this collaboration, both entities aim at developing sustainable and inclusive secondary road networks in developing countries. The signature of the agreement took place on  the margins of the celebration of the International Road Federation’s 75th anniversary happening in Vienna this week.

ORIS's digital impact assessment capabilities for road networks will be used in partnering countries to optimise large infrastructure projects - through better pavement designs and maintenance scenarios - resulting in significant financial savings and reduced environmental impacts. The optimisation process will involve ORIS' advanced digital services, relying on data science and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, to identify areas where cost-efficiency can be improved, while improving quality and sustainability.

The resulting savings will be channeled into rural road connectivity through a Rural Road Fund, supported by UNIDO and the international Donor community. The Fund will be dedicated to building sustainable and inclusive rural roads in partnering countries, boosting economic growth and livelihood development in vulnerable communities.

In collaboration with governments in selected countries, UNIDO will identify project portfolios that require rural connectivity along agro-industrial road corridors to be optimized. The Rural Road Fund will benefit from public, private, and financial partners' support, who are already actively involved in sustainable infrastructure and capacity building in developing countries and regions.

Investing in roads is crucial for governments, especially in developing countries, as they are vital public assets. However, it can prove challenging to implement sustainable and cost-effective solutions that are adapted to varying geographic and climatic conditions, as well as the availability of construction materials. In rural areas, infrastructure assets such as roads and bridges are necessary for the development of livelihoods in local communities, especially for women and youth. Improved connectivity is also essential for attracting agribusiness investments, upgrading agro-industrial parks, and enhancing the agro value chain.

Improved rural road networks are a game-changer for vulnerable communities, providing access to safer and quicker trade routes. This partnership aims to facilitate investment and technology transfer for road infrastructure upgrading and urban modernisation, with a focus on connecting remote areas. By using unique data and technology, this innovative public-private financial partnership is committed to constructing high-quality roads for sustainable infrastructure.

By leveraging the latest technological advancements and data-driven insights, ORIS and UNIDO are paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future, where everyone has access to safe and efficient road networks.

Weixi Gong, Chief, Division of ITPOs and Institutional Partnerships at UNIDO declared: “From UNIDO point of view, we’re promoting the improvements of people’s living standards in the rural areas. And without infrastructure, there’s no chance to make developments. Also, it is a sector in which UNIDO is not involved because it requires too many investments, so through this programme we’ll be able to leverage more, enhancing institutional capacity building. ORIS is innovative, dynamic and with the word “sustainability” as a conscious perspective. This company is willing to contribute to the world and with their diligence and professional competences, we should give them a chance.  It is a pure public/private partnership.”

Nicolas Miravalls, CEO of ORIS added: “We are thrilled to sign this innovative partnership and are eager to collaborate with UNIDO in enhancing rural connectivity. We firmly believe that the use of advanced digital technologies such as data science, AI/ML in road construction will be transformative for our industry towards greater sustainability and inclusivity. Through this collaboration, we aim to demonstrate how digitalisation provides a fresh and innovative approach towards achieving these development goals.”



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