Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday underlined the need for an integrated response to disasters, saying disaster in one region can have a big impact on a completely different region in a closely connected world.
In his video address at the fifth International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure 2023, he noted that 40 countries have become part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) in a few years.
The conference has become an important platform for advanced and developing economies, large and small countries, and the global north and global south to come together on one platform, he said.
Modi said infrastructure is not merely about returns but also about reach and resilience.
Infrastructure should leave none behind and should serve people, including in times of crisis, he added, stressing on having a holistic view of infrastructure.
Social and digital infrastructure is as important as transport infrastructure, he said. ‘Resilient and Inclusive Infrastructure’ is the theme of this year’s conference.
Recent disasters are a reminder of the scale of challenges facing the world, he said while noting the incidents of heat wave which had hit India and Europe, cyclones and also recent earthquake in Turkiye and Syria.
The CDRI arose from a global vision that in a closely connected world the impact of disasters will not just be local, he said.
It is encouraging that apart from governments, global institutions, private sectors and domain experts are also involved in it, he said.
Along with quick relief, the prime minister emphasised on the need to focus on early restoration of normalcy too during disasters. “Resilience is built in the times between one disaster and another. Studying past disasters and learning lessons from them is the way”, he added.
Underlining the intelligent use of local knowledge for building infrastructure that can withstand disasters, he said modern technology with local insights can be great for resilience. Further, if documented well, local knowledge may become a global best practice, he added.
Noting the inclusive intent of some of the CDRI initiatives, he mentioned the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) benefitting many island nations.
The 50 million dollar Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator Fund has generated immense interest among developing nations. “The commitment of financial resources is key to the success of initiatives,” he said.
Modi asserted that India is bringing the world together this year through its ongoing G20 presidency, and said the CDRI has been included in many working groups of the elite body.
“The solutions you explore here will receive attention at the highest levels of global policy-making,” he added.