Globally, an estimated USD 94 trillion is expected to be invested in infrastructure from 2016 to 2040 to sustain economic growth and mitigate the effects of climate change and disasters . Rising population and less predictable hazard patterns are putting both existing and new infrastructure under stress. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) also highlights the role of improved disaster resilience, especially of infrastructure, as a cornerstone for sustainable development. The focus on resilience of infrastructure will not only help achieve the reduction of infrastructure damages and losses, but also targets pertaining to reduction in mortality, affected people and economic losses.
At the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR 2016), a featured event on “Disaster Risk Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Development”, highlighted the need for stronger collaboration and co-operation among countries towards building resilient infrastructure. Following this, the Prime Minister of India announced that India would work with partner countries and key stakeholders in launching a global “Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)”, which is envisaged as a knowledge exchange and capacity development partnership.
The Government of India has been engaging with partner countries, multilateral development banks, United Nations agencies, the private sector and academia to take stock of practices to build the case for investing in resilient infrastructure. This includes the G20 Sherpa meetings, annual meetings of the World Bank (2017), New Development Bank (2017), Asian Development Bank (2017) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2018), the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (2017) and Understanding Risk Forum (2018) in addition to various national roundtables on the subject.
It was found that few concrete initiatives work at the intersection of the Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, Climate Change Adaptation with a focus on critical infrastructure. Thus, a global initiative such as the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) has a clear niche and will address concerns that are common to needs of developing and developed countries; small and large economies; countries at early and at advanced stages of development; and countries that have moderate or high disaster risk.
In January 2018, the Government of India, in collaboration with UNISDR, hosted the first International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI 2018). It brought together 21 countries and allied stakeholders to explore potential ideas for building the resilience of key infrastructure sectors (energy, transport, telecommunications, and water). This included ‘system-of-systems thinking’, creation of a global infrastructure inventory, a regional manual of practice and discussions on harmonization of policy provisions.
The following four thematic verticals were discussed:
- Development of risk assessment methodologies, risk metrics and indicators of sustainability for different infrastructure classes.
- Issues of standards, design and regulation for infrastructure development, operations and maintenance.
- Financing for disaster resilient infrastructure including risk transfer mechanisms.
- Reconstruction and recovery planning of key infrastructure sectors after disasters.
To further build substantive research in conjunction with potential partners, the Government of India will host the Second International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) in March 2019 in New Delhi. As a crucial milestone towards the establishment of the CDRI, the IWDRI 2019 will explore ways of advancing and implementing some of the ideas generated at the IWDRI 2018. More specifically it will look at the contours of such an inter-country knowledge partnership to be an effective instrument of building disaster resilience of infrastructure. It will look at concrete action plans for capacity development of partner countries to upgrade their infrastructure assets, data standardization to facilitate knowledge exchange, among others.
The specific objectives of IWDRI 2019 are to:
- Identify good practices of disaster risk management in key infrastructure sectors (Transport, Energy, Telecom and Water).
- Identify specific areas and pathways for collaborative research on DRI.
- Discuss and co-create the broad contours of the CDRI as well as a notional roll-out plan for the next three years.
- Build a forum for members to work on areas of common interest and make specific commitments.
The workshop will bring together representatives from partner countries representing their disaster risk management agencies, key infrastructure sectors, multilateral development banks, UN agencies, academia and research institutions, the private sector and policy think tanks.