Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure: India’s commitment to cooperate with UNDDR

Non-Aligned Movement has called for disaster risk reduction and the building of resilience to disasters to be addressed with a renewed sense of urgency in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. NAM has acknowledged the importance of the work of the United Nations in disaster risk reduction and has taken into account the important role played by the Secretariat of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). UNDRR oversees the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, supporting countries in its implementation, monitoring and sharing what works in reducing existing risk and preventing the creation of new risk.

NAM has emphasized the responsibility of all States to undertake disaster risk reduction, including through preparedness, as well as response and early recovery efforts, in order to minimize the impact of natural disasters and build resilience towards natural disasters, and recognized the importance of international cooperation in support of the efforts of affected countries which may have limited capacities and resources in this regard.

India is committed to cooperate with UNDDR and this was manifested during the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 held in New York City on 23 September 2019 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a global Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). The Coalition for Disaster- Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) is an international partnership that will support countries – developed and developing- to build climate and disaster resilient infrastructure. The Coalition’s Secretariat, supported by UNDRR and based in Delhi, will facilitate knowledge exchange, provide technical support and support capacity building.

On the occasion of the announcement of the coalition, witnessed by global leaders, government functionaries, international delegates and diplomats from across the world, Indian Prime Minister Modi stated, “What is needed today is a comprehensive approach that covers everything including education, values to lifestyle and development philosophies. What we need is a global people’s movement to bring about behavioural change; need, not greed is our guiding principal. So, therefore India is here today to present a practical approach and roadmap…In order to make our infrastructure resilient in the face of disasters, India is launching a Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure. I invite all member states to join this Coalition.”

CDRI’s mission is to rapidly expand the development of resilient infrastructure and retrofit existing infrastructure for resilience, and to enable a measurable reduction in infrastructure losses. Its mission statement notes that, in recent weather and climate-related disasters, up to 66% of public sector losses were related to infrastructure damage. The partnership will be working in the areas of governance and policy, emerging technology, risk identification and estimation, recovery and reconstruction, resilience standards and certification, finance, and capacity development.

Established as a platform for generating and exchanging knowledge, CDRI will conduct country-specific and global activities. CDRI will provide member countries technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships to facilitate and encourage investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure systems. In its formative stage, CDRI will focus on developing resilience in ecological infrastructure, social infrastructure with a concerted emphasis on health and education, and economic infrastructure with special attention to transportation, telecommunications, energy, and water.

Mami Mizutori, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) has welcomed the initiative, emphasizing the need to “get the built environment right,” given the rise in extreme weather events and the rapid pace of urbanization around the world. Mizutori highlighted the benefits to be gained from joining CDRI, emphasizing that ensuring resilient infrastructure will be one of the most important actions for protecting lives and livelihoods. The World Bank and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) expressed support for CDRI and have committed to working closely with its Secretariat in Delhi.

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