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Address of MoS during the Inaugural Session of the Webinar on ''Bringing about Greater Cohesion in International Response to Disasters'' organized by National Institute of Disaster Mangement, MHA (September 29, 2020)

September 29, 2020

Shri G.V.V. Sarma, Member Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority
Lt. Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain, Member, National Disaster Management Authority
Major Gen. Manor Kumar Bindal, Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management
Prof. Surya Prakash, National Institute of Disaster Management
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskaram and Good Morning,

It is a great honour for me to be invited to deliver the inaugural address of this webinar on "Bringing about Greater Cohesion in International Response to Disasters”, which is quite important as it in the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s 10-point Agenda for Disaster Risk Reduction.

2. Hon’ble Prime Minister had outlined this agenda at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in New Delhi in November 2016.

3. The Agenda builds on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction (2015-30). The Sendai Framework works hand in hand with other 2030 Agenda agreements, including The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

4. As you are aware, the Sendai Framework recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders. Keeping in line with that thought process, Prime Minister’s 10-point agenda aims to bring in involvement and leadership of women. It also aims to develop a network of universities to work on disaster issues, as well as leverage social media and technology in all aspects of disaster management.

5. The theme of this webinar go further beyond the vision of the Sendai Framework and envisage bringing about greater cohesion in international response to disasters.

Ladies and gentlemen,

6. We live in a world where natural disasters do not respect national borders. We have definitely not forgotten the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 was triggered by an earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The tsunami travelled more than 5000 kilometers across the open ocean and struck the east coast of Somalia. It destroyed lives and property all along its wake. The world came together as one in providing relief to the affected people.

7. India, as the first responder in combating disasters, has mobilised its naval resources several times in the past, to support other countries in the Indian Ocean region.

8. With multi-dimensional initiatives and expertise, India is taking a leading role in strengthening regional cooperation among South Asian countries for reducing disasters. India is one of the participating countries and works closely with the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. India has been working closely with many countries for the exchange of ideas and expertise in disaster management.

9. India’s flagship agency for Disaster Management, the National Disaster Management Authority was founded in 2005. In the recent past, it has established cooperation with its counterpart agencies in various countries such as Russia, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, and with multilateral groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

10. India hosted the first Annual Disaster Management Exercise for ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC) countries on 10-13 October, 2017 in New Delhi.

11. India also hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search & Rescue on 04th November, 2019, in New Delhi.

12. As we see greater cohesion in our international response to disaster, it is time that we go beyond responding, and towards achieving greater cohesion and international collaboration in enhancing disaster risk reduction and resilience.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

13. It is with this goal that Hon’ble Prime Minister 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.

14. The CDRI focuses as much on reducing the risk of disaster as it does on relief. 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 measurable reduction in infrastructure losses from disasters, including extreme climate events. Even if the situation demands evacuation of the 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.

15. The CDRI is the culmination of a process of consultations with more than 35 countries. 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.

16. 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.

17. As of September 2020, 16 countries are members of CDRI. In addition to 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.

18. Given our common vulnerabilities to the vagaries of the changing climate, it is pertinent that we come together on building a future that is resilient to climate change. As we work towards building partnerships within our countries, at the local and regional levels, it is also important for us to come together at the global level, exchange ideas and best practices and use them for a safer and shared future.

19. I congratulate the National Institute of Disaster Management and National Disaster Management Authority for organising this webinar, at a time when the Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) completes its First Anniversary.


Thank you!
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