UNOPS and Arup partner to strengthen infrastructure capacity

01 Dec 2010

UNOPS (The United Nations Office for Project Services) has signed a partnership with Arup to improve the speed, quality and sustainability of infrastructure projects.

UNOPS implements projects for the United Nations system and other partners. One of its main focus areas is physical infrastructure development, often in some of the world’s most challenging environments.

Arup's infrastructure projects include examples such as Letsibogo Dam in Botswana, collaboration on the design of a prototype sustainable kindergarten in Ghana, and The East Asia Hospital, Vietnam.

This partnership is a logical match as UNOPS is committed to building the capacity and professionalism of the infrastructure sector across the developing world.

  • For more information and pictures of the signing or UNOPS projects please contact Katy Laffan in the Communications Unit at UNOPS headquarters on or +45 3546 7572 or visit

Partnering for international development

Infrastructure is a core component of development. Well-designed and constructed schools, roads, bridges, hospitals and police stations enable communities to achieve sustainable improvements in health, education, security and economic stability.

At the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations, Braye Sutherland, head of the UNOPS physical infrastructure practice said: “To achieve the Millennium Development Goals it is crucial that developing countries are able to run their own infrastructure projects. By strengthening local capacity to implement such projects in a sustainable and effective way, as well as creating useful tools and standards, UNOPS and Arup will help ensure the most effective use of public funds.”

Jo da Silva, leader of Arup’s international development team globally, said: “We hope that this unique partnership with a UN organisation will further Arup’s overall mission to shape a better world by enabling UNOPS to access Arup’s global expertise in the planning and design of appropriate, sustainable infrastructure.”

Joint services, effective standards

UNOPS has built schools, hospitals, laboratories, prisons, border crossing facilities, water supply networks, harbours and airports across the globe on behalf of a range of partners.

The organisation recently managed the construction and repair of hundreds of schools in Indonesia and has carried out extensive infrastructure projects in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Sri Lanka.

UNOPS will work with Arup to provide more support to least developed and developing countries during the early stages of a project. This will be done by providing joint consulting and implementation services, and by developing effective standards.

Arup is a signatory of the Global Compact and the firm’s international development group is non-profit.

The development group will be the focal point of the partnership and can draw on the resources of Arup’s global network of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists.


  • Arup's Jo da Silva shaking hands with Braye Sutherland of UNOPS. Image credit UNOPS.

    Arup's Jo da Silva with Braye Sutherland, head of the UNOPS physical infranstructure practice.

  • Letsibogo Dam, spillway.

    Arup's infranstructure projects include Letsibogo Dam, helping the government of Botswana address water resource challenges.