Countries move forward on new global principles for resilient infrastructure

Source(s)
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
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GENEVA, 29 March, 2022 – Representatives from over 100 countries moved closer towards finalizing the Principles for Resilient Infrastructure, which set a new global standard for strengthening infrastructure systems and critical services such as energy, digital, transport, water, waste and others. UNDRR and the Government of Qatar hosted two days of global consultations where member states and key institutions offered inputs that will soon become a global standard to ensure resilience of infrastructure and to de-risk investments.

With the rapidly increasing risks of climate change, and far-reaching systemic hazards like the global pandemic, many critical infrastructure services are exposed and increasingly vulnerable. Moreover, the large amount of investments flowing into infrastructure, approximately US $90 trillion over the next 15 years, means new standards for resilient infrastructure are urgently needed. The Principles for Resilient Infrastructure will have a critical role in helping countries adhere to a common understanding about infrastructure resilience, as well as steps and actions needed to achieve it.

“Infrastructure systems are increasingly becoming interconnected as they provide vital functions to societies and institutions, therefore Qatar is fully committed to playing its role in addressing these challenges to enhance investments in infrastructure. We believe that to achieve the desired success, we need to change the way we think about infrastructure to ensure that we follow a systematic path with comprehensive solutions, and the Principles of Resilient Infrastructure should be our guide. We ask that countries, investors, partners and stakeholders implement the Principles for Resilient Infrastructure and that these Principles become a new global standard,” said Brigadier Hamad Othman El Dheimi, from Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.

The new concept of a ‘net resilience gain’ was also discussed during the Global Consultations, which is an important aspect of achieving infrastructure resilience. Similar to the idea of ‘net zero greenhouse gases’, a ‘net resilience gain’ seeks to ensure that all new investments offset any additional risk they cause. While many global initiatives that support the goal of ‘net zero greenhouse gas emissions’ exists, there is nothing similar for resilience, which is a critical to supporting ‘net zero greenhouse gases.’

"Net resilience gain is crucial because everything we do has to consider resilience. It means that all infrastructure interventions must demonstrate that they enhance the systemic resilience of infrastructure and that we are mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into all investment decisions,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Principles for Resilient Infrastructure provide a global framework, key actions and guidance to enable a range of stakeholders to improve infrastructure resilience and contribute to positive economic, social and environmental outcomes. They can be used and implemented by governments, donors, investors, owners, regulators, operators, designers and contractors, service providers, international organisations and others.

Member states agree that having a common understanding and framework for resilient infrastructure is an important and timely issue, vital for future global security and wellbeing. The Principles are aligned with and will enhance current global agreements. They support achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 9; as well as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030. Specifically, global target D of the Sendai Framework calls for substantially reducing disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.

The 6 Principles for Resilient Infrastructure are:

  1. Adaptively transforming – The goal is to adapt and transform to changing needs.
  2. Environmentally integrated – The goal is to work in a positively integrated way with the natural environment.
  3. Protected by design – The goal is to design infrastructure that is prepared for hazards.
  4. Socially engaged – The goal is to develop active engagement, involvement, and participation with people.
  5. Shared responsibility – The goal is to share information and expertise for coordinated benefits.
  6. Continuously learning – The goal is to develop understanding and insight into infrastructure resilience
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