22 nations to join disaster meet in India


22 nations to join disaster meet in India

NEW DELHI: More than 22 countries have confirmed participation in a two-day international meet India is hosting along with the UN from Monday to build a global coalition for development of disaster resilient infrastructure the lines of the Solar Alliance of 120 countries.

According to the agenda note prepared for the two-day meet, India is likely to spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure in the next 10 years. Considering that globally, these investments are 10 times more, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) is partnering to achieve regional and global targets towards cutting down disaster deaths and economic losses due to natural hazards. Annually, these losses are estimated at over $306 billion.

On the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UNISDR is jointly hosting the deliberations with multilateral agencies like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, New Development Bank, besides Japan, Germany, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and the Netherlands. This is the second such gathering of nations organised in New Delhi towards building a coalition on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

In November 2016, India had hosted the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR that saw the adoption of a regional plan for a committed reduction in disaster losses by 2030. India is playing a leadership role in the Asia Pacific region with the UN recognising its efforts and the UNISDR closely working with New Delhi to ensure implementation of the Sendai Framework for targeted reduction of loss of life and property by countries in the region and globally.

According to international disaster database, at least 50 disasters occur every month with more than 220 deaths every day, leaving over 2 billion people affected. The annual global economic losses on account of disasters are estimated at around $306 billion, India is one of the worst affected countries. Last year in Bihar alone, more than 550 people died due to floods and hundreds of thousands of crores of property was lost in floods in J&K, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

The Prime Minister's Office and the home ministry are involved in organising the event with the emphasis on building a coalition of countries and sharing technology and expertise in developing a disaster resilient infrastructure that is sustainable and can handle high impact hazards. India is affected by extreme weather conditions like cyclone, landslide and floods almost every year, besides earthquakes.

The PM had emphasised on "working towards disaster resilient infrastructure to ensure that all development projects — airports, roads, canals, hospitals, schools, bridges — are built to appropriate standards and contribute to the resilience of communities".

The efforts towards building a coalition of countries on DRR began in May last year at the UN's global conference on DRR when minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju and Modi's additional principal secretary P K Mishra, between them, held bilateral meetings with several countries and pitched for the coalition.

Mishra had said such a coalition could best serve the interest of countries by finding coherence among the Sendai Framework for DRR, the Paris Climate agreement and the sustainable development goals.

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