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India, US boost global disaster resilience efforts
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India, US boost global disaster resilience efforts

As co-chairs of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)'s Governing Council and Executive Committee from 2022 to 2024, India and the United States have collaborated to establish disaster-resilient infrastructure around the world in partnership with CDRI's growing membership.

On April 23, the United States transitioned the co-chairship to France and will remain actively engaged in the organisation in support of its goals, according to a press release.

Formed by India in 2019, CDRI is a unique global climate initiative that brings together governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector, and academic institutions to strengthen the climate resilience of key infrastructure, including roads, airports, and power grids.

India is the permanent co-chair of the CDRI Governing Council and Executive Committee, represented by PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister and Kamal Kishore, Member of, the National Disaster Management Authority and Head of Department, the press release stated.

Over the last two years, the United States, represented by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has held the rotating co-chair positions for a two-year term.

Under the strategic guidance of its co-chairs, CDRI has witnessed remarkable growth over the last two years, unveiling a new strategic roadmap for 2023 to 2026 and expanding its membership by more than 25 per cent.

CDRI's 46 members include 39 countries, 6 multilateral organizations, and a private-sector association representing more than 400 companies, forging partnerships that will strengthen infrastructure resilience worldwide. Through this platform, members focus on transforming new and existing infrastructure systems to mitigate climate and disaster risks, sharing knowledge, best practices, and proven tools.

As global leaders in climate action, India and the United States have promoted financing for infrastructure that fortifies the resilience of communities worldwide in the face of increasing disasters.

During this tenure, CDRI has released the world's first Global Infrastructure Risk Model and Resilience Index, which will enable countries to predict the risk and estimate economic impacts, allowing for more strategic preparation and resilience efforts.

In addition to catalysing financial investments for infrastructure, CDRI has also launched initiatives to invest in a future-ready workforce.

Together, the countries have spearheaded transformative initiatives to equip students and professionals to facilitate innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges through initiatives such as the Infrastructure Resilience Academic Exchange and the Higher Education Partnership for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

A tangible example of CDRI's impact can be witnessed at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, where CDRI Fellows are pioneering advancements in flood management. Through the Infrastructure Resilience Academic Exchange initiative, students are leveraging advanced technology and public participation to develop tools that predict and respond to floods more effectively.

By combining community observations with satellite data, they are equipping local communities to mitigate the impacts of flooding, ensuring more efficient planning and a safer future for all. CDRI has also awarded 11 projects across 13 Small Island Developing States as part of its commitment to help the most vulnerable by making infrastructure systems disaster and climate-resilient.

Kamal Kishore, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, India and CDRI Executive Committee India Co-Chair, said, "Achieving CDRI's mission of strengthening infrastructure systems around the world is vital if we are to protect lives and livelihoods from the impacts of disasters.

During the last two years Administrator Samantha Power and her team at USAID, in Washington DC and New Delhi, have provided unparalleled leadership and support that has resulted in several innovative initiatives over the last two years."

"Thanks to their efforts, CDRI is stronger: we held our first regional conference in Washington DC, work is being taken forward on critical infrastructure sectors, and we are developing a unique academic exchange. It has been a great example of India-US collaboration. I look forward to our continued collaboration and USA's exemplary engagement and support for CDRI," Kishore added.

USAID/India Mission Director Veena Reddy and CDRI Executive Committee US Co-Chair, said, "As the world confronts escalating climate uncertainties, CDRI stands as a testament to the power of collaboration in advancing global resilience efforts.

The US government remains deeply committed to CDRI's mission and promoting disaster- and climate-resilient infrastructure to support countries, communities, and people around the world for a safer and more productive future."

This week's International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure will underscore the need for enhanced financing and investments in infrastructure resilience.

As the climate crisis intensifies, CDRI calls upon governments, multilateral agencies, private sector entities, and investors to prioritise funding for projects that strengthen infrastructure resilience and mitigate the impacts of disasters and climate change.

(ANI)

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