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Resilient infrastructure is essential for sustainable development, climate change adaptation, and economic growth in all countries. Only by ensuring that infrastructure systems are resilient to current and emerging disaster and climate change risks can countries ensure the safety of communities and the continuation of the vital services that support economies.

Infrastructure resilience is, therefore, one of the priorities of the G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group (DRRWG) which targets increased commitment towards making infrastructure systems disaster and climate resilient.  From the outset, this Working Group aimed to better understand the tools, methodologies, and metrics available for assessing disaster and climate risk to guide infrastructure planners in embedding resilience and risk reduction over the lifecycle of the infrastructure systems. This includes building on and implementing the G20 Principles of Quality Infrastructure Investment Indicators towards a common understanding of what constitutes resilient infrastructure and a set of standards and principles to mainstream disaster risk reduction and resilience into all infrastructure systems in G20 countries and support vulnerable developing countries including the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).

Achieving resilient infrastructure requires robust governance at local, national and regional levels. This includes creating a multi-sector governance structure that can better respond to complex interdependencies and vulnerabilities across infrastructure systems and across borders. Effective governance for infrastructure resilience also requires strong national policies, legislation, regulations and standards that incentivise public and private collaboration for integrating resilience in infrastructure planning, development and financing.

During the Working Group’s second meeting in Mumbai, members noted that governments need to continue updating construction standards and codes in line with emerging physical disasters and climate risks. Moreover, the Working Group recognised the need for governments to ensure a stable regulatory environment and to bolster the business case and highlight the opportunities to attract public and private investment in resilient infrastructure and disaster risk reduction. The Working Group called for a compendium of good practices to support this approach.

On 24 July, ICSI and the Engineering Leadership Group (ELG) were pleased to take part in a side event on disaster resilient infrastructure governance organised in the margins of the third G20 India DRRWG meeting held in Chennai.

Led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastrcuture (CDRI), the side event discussed how to take forward the action areas of the DRRWG roadmap and draft communique related to risk governance and resilient infrastructure. It also aimed to provide a platform for SIDS, as well as LDCs and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), to showcase good practices and lessons to inform policies, strategies, regulatory frameworks and governance mechanisms for improving infrastructure resilience and facilitate cross learning. The event discussed the challenges that SIDS face, as well as LDCs and LLDCs, for strengthening infrastructure resilience and incorporating feedback into the development of the methodology for the review of infrastructure resilience governance. Opportunities and strategies to enhance investments in quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure were also addressed.

The side-event also showcased and highlighted case studies of good practices, tools and guidance developed by UNDRR and CDRI.

Savina Carluccio, Executive Director of ICSI, took part in the discussion and spoke on the need for G20 countries to:

  • Urgently build resilience into policies and regulations, strengthen governance systems & adopt multi-level governance frameworks.
  • Align disaster risk management, critical infrastructure protection, and climate change adaptation policies
  • Mandate development of resilience standards for key infrastructure sectors and stress testing to help assure them.
  • Actively engage with the private sector and create incentives supported by risk-based performance
  • Consider establishing multi-sectoral regulators, which should facilitate the collection of risk data and make disclosure of disaster risk mandatory.

Savina also addressed what the G20 can do to promote common principles and standards for resilience.

George Karagiannis, Director of the ELG, also took part in the session and spoke on current shocks and future changes, systemic issues that contribute to vulnerability, and changes to infrastructure governance and decision making. George also addressed the role that engineers play in global infrastructure decision-making, noting that the engineering community is in a unique position to improve risk assessments by developing new methods and quantified approaches to help make the business case for investing in resilience.

You can watch the full session here: