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India Taking Lead Role to Bolster Cooperation Among South Asian Nations to Reduce Disasters: MoS MEA

File photo of V Muraleedharan

File photo of V Muraleedharan

He also said the Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) formed last year will conduct country-specific and global activities, and also serve as a platform for facilitating investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure systems.

With multi-dimensional initiatives and expertise, India is taking a leading role in strengthening regional cooperation among South Asian countries for reducing disasters, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Tuesday. He also said the Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) formed last year will conduct country-specific and global activities, and also serve as a platform for facilitating investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure systems.

India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, he said addressing a webinar on 'Bringing about Greater Cohesion in International Response to Disasters' organised by the National Institute of Disaster Management. India has been working closely with many countries for exchange of ideas and expertise in disaster management, he said.

"We live in a world where natural disasters do not respect national borders. We have not forgotten the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 was triggered by an earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia," he said. Noting that tsunami travelled more than 5,000 km across the open ocean and struck the east coast of Somalia, he said it destroyed lives and property all along its wake.

The world came together as one in providing relief to the affected people, the minister said. "As we see greater cohesion in our international response to a disaster, it is time that we go beyond responding, and towards achieving greater cohesion and international collaboration in enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience," Muraleedharan said.

"It is with this goal that Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) announced the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019. It is envisaged as a global partnership that aims to promote resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks," he said. The CDRI focuses as much on reducing the risk of disaster as it does on relief, Muraleedharan said.

"As we are aware, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, communities incur greater losses over time during the prolonged process of resettlement and rehabilitation. Keeping this in mind, CDRI envisions enabling a measurable reduction in infrastructure losses from disasters, including extreme climate events," he said. Even if the situation demands evacuation of people from a particular area, CDRI looks at a future where disaster-resilient infrastructure would help hasten the process of resettlement and return to normalcy, the minister said.

Noting that CDRI is the culmination of a process of consultations with more than 35 countries, he said it looks at expanding universal access to basic services and enabling prosperity as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals, while also working at the intersection of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Agreement. "CDRI will conduct country-specific and global activities. It will serve as a platform for generating and exchanging knowledge, and thereby provide member countries technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships to facilitate and encourage investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure systems," he said.

As of September 2020, 16 countries are members of CDRI, Muraleedharan said, adding apart from member states, CDRI has the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as its knowledge and development partners.


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