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Disaster Management

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure – European Union joins India’s CDRI

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure – European Union joins India’s CDRI


  • GS 3 || Disaster Management || Disaster Management || Policy framework

Why in the news?

India’s invitation, the European Union (EU) has officially on-boarded as a member of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), following its endorsement of the charter of the CDRI earlier

The Concept of Resilience:

  • Resilience is a term derived from the physics of materials that has been applied in ecology, developmental psychology, psychiatry among others
  • Resilience is the ability of social units to mitigate hazards, contain the effects of disasters when they occur, and carry out recovery activities in ways that minimize social disruption and mitigate the effects in future
  • Resilience includes the ability to withstand shocks and stresses (and so avoid their impact); the ability to recover from their impact (what is sometimes termed “bouncing back”); and the ability to bounce back in ways that reduce future risks.
  • Example of disaster with heavy lose but well managed Cyclone Fani, which hit Odisha in May lat year, caused damage to the tune of $4 billion

What is Disaster Resilient Infrastructure?

Resilient infrastructure is designed by ensuring that an asset is located, designed, built and operated keeping impacts of climate change in mind. It ensures that infrastructure is resilient to potential increases in extreme weather events such as storms, floods, heatwaves and extreme cold.

Need for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure:

  • To protect the certain disaster prone area from any disaster either it is natural or man made disaster
  • To stop damage caused due to certain human manhandling or activity
  • To protect live and property has brings heavy burden on the government of the state or country nationally or internationally

What is needed for implementing Disaster Resilient Infrastructure?

  • Mapping of present and future climate variability and change risks.
  • Mapping of critical socio-economic infrastructure.
  • Defining acceptable risk levels
  • Selecting non-structural and structural risk mitigation measures.
  • infrastructure development and implementation,
  • strengthening of existing disaster prone infrastructure
  • mobilisation of innovative infrastructure financing mechanisms.
  • strengthening the project management unit and line ministries, through staffing, training, and operating costs
  • monitoring and evaluation progress and results

Example of poor Disaster Resilient Infrastructure:

  • Building of large no. of dams on periyar river triggered large no of earthquakes and landslides.
  • Kerala floods causes more than $3 million loss.Kerala floods have once again reminded our inadequacy to deal with natural disasters
  • 2001- Gujarat earthquake
  • 2006 – surat flood
  • 2014 – Uttarakhand floods
  • 2015 – chennai floods
  • 2016 – Bihar floods

Challenges to resilient infrastructure

  • Financing infrastructure projects is the biggest challenge with current infrastructure
  • Huge uncertainties surrounding the scale, timing and nature of exactly how the climate might change raises the question: what should our infrastructure be adapted to?
  • There is no codification of what makes infrastructure resilient.
  • Prioritizing short-term measures to gain political traction leads to neglecting long-term planning needed to tackle climate change.

Benefits of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure:

  • Saving lives: Statistical evidence suggests disaster prevention has helped limit loss of life to disasters in a number of developed and developing countries . In Bangladesh, for example, the fact that far fewer people were killed by a cyclone in 2008 (3,000) than by a similar one in 1970 (almost 500,000) is attributed to better disaster prevention
  • Protecting infrastructure and livelihoods: A review by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) found that the cost of property damage from all hazards between 1970 and 2008 totalled US$2,300 billion, but that effective disaster prevention had curtailed an upward trend
  • Protecting social systems: A review of humanitarian assistance provided by the Red Cross following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami found that community-based DRR had a positive impact on social resilience through altering attitudes and behaviours towards risk
  • Protecting the environment: Increased disaster resilience has in some cases been associated with behaviours that preserve the natural environment. In Honduras, for example, resilience-building in an indigenous community from 1994 to 2002 led to slower forest destruction and at the borders between Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, collaborative local approaches to resilience have helped preserve pasture and water resources.
  • Supporting broader resilience in contexts of violent conflicts or fragile states: The drivers and constraints that shape resilience to natural hazards are largely similar to those that shape people’s resilience in contexts of violent conflict or fragile states. For example, countries with well-performing institutions are better able to both prevent disasters and reduce the likelihood of disaster-related conflict

Steps need to be taken:

  • Much more investment by the governments
  • Define climate resilience and codify it
  • Create standards to assess the climate resilience of an infrastructure
  • Incentivize builders and contractors to make infrastructure projects climate resilient
  • Penalize those not adhering to such standards

Disaster is an opportunity:

  • Governments, donors, and aid agencies must recognize that families and communities drive their own recovery.
  • Recovery must promote fairness and equity.
  • Governments must enhance preparedness for future disasters.
  • Local governments must be empowered to manage recovery efforts, and donors must devote greater resources to strengthening government recovery institutions, especially at the local level.
  • Good recovery planning and effective coordination depend on good information.
  • The UN, World Bank, and other multilateral agencies must clarify their roles and relationships, especially in addressing the early stage of a recovery process.
  • The expanding role of NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement carries greater responsibilities for quality in recovery efforts.
  • From the start of recovery operations, governments and aid agencies must create the conditions for entrepreneurs to flourish.
  • Beneficiaries deserve the kind of agency partnerships that move beyond rivalry and unhealthy competition.
  • Good recovery must leave communities safer by reducing risks and building resilience

Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI):

  • What is Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and when was it launched?
    • In September 2019 Prime Minister of India launched the Coalition for Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, US. It has a secretariat in Delhi, supported by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), to enable knowledge exchange, technical support and capacity building.
  • What does it seek to do?
    • The CDRI involves consultations with more than 35 countries.
    • It is a partnership of national governments, United Nation agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions that aim to promote resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development.
    • 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.
    • The World Bank and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) expressed support for CDRI.
  • Is it linked to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
    • SDG target 9.1 commits to developing sustainable and resilient infrastructure, while target 9.a seeks to facilitate its development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and Small Island developing States (SIDS).
  • Significance for India:
    • Provide a platform for India to emerge as a global leader on climate Action and Disaster Resilience.
    • Complement the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
    • Facilitate India’s support to resilient infrastructure in Africa, Asia, etc.
    • Provide access to knowledge, technology and capacity development for infra developers.
    • Create opportunities for Indian infrastructure & technology firms to expand services abroad.
  • How many founding members are there in CDRI?
    • 12 including India.
  • What is the recent historical background to its formation?
    • The formation of the Coalition is the result of efforts by India and UNDRR, responding to Modi’s call at the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR for action to reduce damage to critical infrastructure.
    • India and UNDRR, with the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Commission on Adaptation, have hosted two international workshops on disaster-resilient infrastructure in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
    • The partners have also held consultations with more than 35 countries that represent a variety of challenges posed by development, climate, and disaster risk factors. The Third International Workshop on Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) will take place in 2020.

Way forward:

It is important to consider disasters as an opportunity because of the high attention and good will they generate and taking advantage of the situation to plan and design better infrastructure and mobilizing resources can result in resilient infrastructures, better local economies and livelihoods. In addition, stakeholders in the local economy must develop and adopt new visions which can be achieved through the implementation of new ideas which were difficult to implement before the disaster. The recovery process must also create a platform, where stakeholders at both local and national levels can take advantage of the learning opportunities that can promote building back better resilient infrastructures and livelihoods.

Mains oriented question:

CDRI boosts India’s soft power, but more importantly it has wider connotation than just economics, as synergy between disaster risk reductions, explain the role of CDRI in resilience from disaster. (200 words)