CDRI to host conference on disaster resilient infrastructure


India and the US, the co-chairs of the Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), will host a conference on disaster resilient infrastructure from Wednesday to Friday. Best practices in managing extreme weather events like the March-April heatwave in India are is likely to be showcased at the fourth such conference. National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member secretary Kamal Kishore said CDRI is working on a range of things in India including resilience of power systems to extreme temperatures and extreme events, extreme rainfall, etc. “So, in multiple sectors, CDRI is looking at how to engage different states in making them disaster and climate-resilient,” said Kishore, who is also the co-chair of CDRI’s Executive Committee.

Kishore said CDRI is monitoring disasters like the heat waves in India. “CDRI works on infrastructure and not disaster risk management in general. While CDRI is closely tracking the impact of heatwaves and other extreme events on infrastructure systems, it is not specifically looking at mortality alone.”

Kishore said this year’s conference has two themes. “One, how do we ensure the infrastructure systems of the future, the transitioning infrastructure systems such as renewable energy systems are resilient to disaster and climate shocks. The other theme is how can we make infrastructure systems somewhat more people-centric. How can they provide sustainable solutions in a dependable fashion to people?” Kishore said the conference will help identify good practices in disaster management and inform CDRI’s programmes and refine the programme portfolio.

A discussion titled ‘Engagement and Delivery of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Around the World’ will be held on the first day of the conference and focus on lessons learned and best practices the American government agencies have adopted in promoting disaster resilient infrastructure. On the third day, Netherlands’s infrastructure and water management ministry and the Global Centre on Adaptation will organise a joint session on accelerating adaptation investments in infrastructure for a climate-resilient future.

PK Mishra, principal secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president, European Commission, Yasmine Fouad, Egyptian environment minister, her Maldivian counterpart, Aminath Shauna, are expected to speak at the conference. Kishore said there will be a special session on how the US is confronting some of these challenges. “Unlike developing countries, the US has slightly different challenges in the sense that infrastructure systems there are completing their life cycle. They need to replace the aging infrastructure. They too have an opportunity to build it better and they have a lot of experience. For example, US army corps engineers are experts in building flood protection, coastal protection systems...how can we benefit from that expertise [will be discussed],” Kishore said.

CDRI’s conference comes against the backdrop of an unprecedented heatwave in India. Maximum temperatures have been five to 10 degrees C above normal in many parts of northwest India. Temperatures have shot over to 47 degrees C in some pockets. A note for the conference referred to a demographic transition with an increase in population as well as a change in the age composition and rapid urbanisation, which are changing the demand for energy, transport, housing, health, education, telecom, and concomitant infrastructure needs. “There are transitions in our social interactions and behaviour, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic decoupled people from their places of work and changed the dynamics of transportation and telecommunication demand. This is all happening against the backdrop of a changing climate…”

India initiated CDRI as a global partnership of 27 countries in 2019. It launched a programme to help small island states develop resilience to climate crisis at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)