In the present times of increasing frequency and severity of disasters and impacts of climate change, there is immense pressure on our infrastructure systems to hold firm and deliver reliable services. Any weakening or unreliability on their part compounds suffering and increases loss of human life and assets. It is therefore, extremely important that due attention be paid to these systems and to building their resilience.
In order to safeguard their people and assets, countries must ensure that their infrastructure systems conform to certain standards of quality and reliability. Sound technical standards must be adhered to while building and scaling up the resilience of infrastructure systems. This ensures that the developed infrastructure is equipped to withstand present disasters and impacts of climate change. Following these standards also assures investors that infrastructure assets are protected.
To fully realize the positive and effective impact of technical standards, a range of factors, including contextual risks, climate conditions, geophysical hazards, environmental trends, local construction practices, advancements in engineering technology, and policy priorities need to be considered.
These standards should however be revised regularly and applied consistently. Governments should also ensure that international, national and local approaches are aligned in order to facilitate investments in resilient infrastructure by the public and private sectors.
The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) recognises that the first step should be a comprehensive study of the existing standards across the three infrastructure sectors – telecommunications, energy and electric power and transport. This will help to identify the main stakeholders involved in the lifecycle (planning, delivery and maintenance) of infrastructure and the present gaps and challenges in building and enhancing infrastructure resilience.
CDRI aims to conduct a detailed and comprehensive assessment across these sectors. The outcomes of such a study are expected to include:
- Promotion of the most effective and rigorous standards.
- Identification of key pointers that will help to formulate a new set of standards incorporating disaster and climate resilience in the entire lifecycle of infrastructure development.