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Government of India
Ministry of Home Affairs
12-January-2018 18:22 IST
Home Minister to inaugurate International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate a two-day International Workshop on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (IWDRI) here on Monday, January 15, 2018. The workshop is organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

The workshop will bring together countries from different parts of the world - from Chile to Australia and from Japan to Sri Lanka - with different socio-economic backgrounds and geographical features. This will be a great opportunity to learn from their unique experiences in their efforts towards building disaster resilient infrastructure. 

The workshop will also see multilateral development banks, the United Nations, the private sector and academics coming together to identify best practices in the infrastructure sector, as well as key issues in existing practices and ways to address them. This workshop aims to take this dialogue on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and global cooperation further.

Brief on Workshop Sessions

Disaster Resilient Infrastructure: Opportunities and Challenges

In this session a broad discussion regarding the infrastructure development will take place which will highlight the limitations of the existing practices; risks to which the current assets are exposed to, the direct and indirect socio-economic impact of the disasters, the investment ecosystem, regulatory standards, sectoral roles and opportunities of building resilience in key projects of the future

Technical Sessions

Technical sessions will be held on following thematic areas:

1. Risk Management of Key Infrastructure Sectors –                                                                                                             

Discussions will take place on issues pertaining to risk management in specific infrastructure sectors during the workshop.

a.       Disaster Control Infrastructure: This will discuss strategies on how to build resilience in infrastructure which are designed specifically to protect people living in hazard-prone locations; for example, cyclone shelters

b.      Transport: This will see discussions how to build better disaster resilient transport infrastructure such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, ports, airports, etc.

c.       Energy: This panel will discuss ways of making power transmission and distribution lines resilient to the effect of risks from natural hazards. Case studies will be presented on topics ranging from design and operating standards of power plants to the kind of risk renewable energy systems are exposed to.

2.      Risk Assessment, Standards, Design, and Regulation for Infrastructure development, Operation and Maintenance

 

A risk assessment is a process to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs.

This session will have case studies on challenges in incorporating new disaster risk assessments to infrastructure; the absence of standardisation in methods of collecting data and its implication on disaster risk assessments.

Discussions will also happen on design standards; how regulations play their role in ascertaining that the prescribed standards are followed during construction of infrastructure; how to sustain and maintain resilience, etc.

3.      Financing Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

3.This session will deal with issues pertaining to how governments, especially those of developing countries make optimum use of their finance in creating disaster resilient infrastructure. Infrastructure remains largely public owned in most of the developing countries. Maximising benefits within budgetary constraints is a major challenge. Experts will discuss ways to do this without escalating costs beyond affordability. What is the role of insurance companies; role of multilateral development banks and private investors; possibility of a loan on reduced interest rate for more resilient infrastructure,  are some of the other areas of focus in this session

4.      Reconstruction and Recovery of Critical Infrastructure after Disasters

The panel will discuss issues ranging from how to identify critical infrastructure and quickly resume services along this infrastructure in the aftermath of a disaster to improving communication and enable recovery.

Backgrounder

India was one of the first to create a National Disaster Management Plan based on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It is now on course to lead a global coalition which would work towards reducing damage to critical infrastructure.

The Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) held in New Delhi in November 2016, saw the adoption of the ‘Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’. During the same, India showed strong commitment towards building resilience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing ten-point agenda, the first point of which, focuses on “working towards disaster resilient infrastructure to ensure that all development projects - airports, roads, canals, hospitals, schools, bridges – are built to appropriate standards and contribute to the resilience of communities they seek to serve." He also emphasized the need of working “...with other partner countries and stakeholders to build a coalition or centre for promoting disaster resilient infrastructure in the region...”.  

The Asian region will see huge infrastructure projects in the coming years. A large proportion of these will happen in India. An estimate suggests that India needs about $1.5 trillion investment in the infrastructure sector in the coming 10 years. While this sounds exciting, the challenge lies in building infrastructure that is sustainable and resilient enough to handle extreme weather events. India alone is prone to multiple high impact hazards such as Earthquake, Cyclone, Landslide, Flood, etc. Urban Flooding (which troubles both the developed and developing regions of the world) is another menace which the country is facing every year. During a disaster, poor quality - weak infrastructure not just results in loss of lives, but also in livelihoods. It results in significant economic loss as well. For a

country like ours, this could have been better utilized in various welfare projects. It is, therefore, extremely crucial that the new (as well as existing) infrastructure is strong enough to take on the hazards mentioned above. Having realised the importance of “prevention and mitigation”, investment in mainstreaming risk reduction is inevitable.

Various international agreements have also reiterated the importance and long-term benefits of investing in resilient infrastructure. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), 2015-2030, which is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, identifies investing in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for resilience and to build back better in reconstruction as priorities for action towards reducing disaster risk. Similarly, Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes disaster resilient infrastructure as a crucial driver of economic growth and development.

Besides reducing infrastructure losses, disaster resilient infrastructure will also help achieve targets pertaining to reduction in mortality, number of affected people and economic losses due to disasters.

The frequency and severity of disaster events, especially the large hydro-meteorological disasters, has been increasing due to climate change. This means that there is an urgent need for making our infrastructure disaster resilient for effectively responding to climate change. Even more so in public infrastructure sectors - energy, transportation, tele-communication - as their resilience is critical for effective post-disaster response. Moreover, these sectors are likely to see the largest amount of investment in developing countries over the next fifteen years. Making them resilient makes for sound economic sense.

 

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