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Needed disaster resistant infrastructure: India

New Delhi/Geneva, May 16 (UNI) India has reaffirmed its commitment and support towards implementation of the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Asia Regional Plan, saying the country is dedicated to reduce vulnerabilities and impact of disasters through national efforts as well as regional and international cooperation.
Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr P K Mishra, presented the Country Statement at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction 2019 being held in Geneva where a series of high level dialogues kicked off on Wednesday with a discussion on progress made in implementing the global plan to reduce disaster losses.
Dr Mishra briefed on the steps taken by India and said that the country was not only focusing on reducing mortality from major disasters but also from small or medium, and locally-specific disasters such as heat wave, thunderstorm and lightning.
He stressed the urgent need to ensure that new infrastructure to be created anywhere should be resilient to disaster.
India has initiated a dialogue with more than 40 countries to build a Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
Such a Coalition, he said, would benefit both developed and developing countries and serve as a knowledge and capacity development platform for promoting disaster resilient infrastructure.
Director of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Kirsi Madi noted that much more needs to be done on reducing damage to critical infrastructure.
“We saw in Nepal and Haiti that where building codes are not implemented the consequences of a large earthquake can result in many lives lost and millions of people displaced and homeless.
“Last year 17.2 million people were internally displaced by disasters, mainly extreme weather events. It is notable that almost twice as many people are displaced each year by natural hazards compared to conflict.”
The Sendai Framework, adopted at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, on March 18, 2015, outlines targets and priorities for action to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risks.
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction opened with the focus on raising levels of ambition when it comes to reducing disaster risk in a world where vulnerability and exposure is dramatically on the rise.
Four years after the adoption of the Sendai Framework – the global plan to reduce disaster losses - 116 UN Member States are reporting against the seven targets including those for reducing mortality, reducing the numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure.
Participants called for a broad and pluralistic approach to disaster risk reduction in today’s context of greater frequency of natural disasters and harmful effects of human activity on the environment and survival of species.
UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, said while there is promising progress in many areas “time is running out for a world at risk…threats that were considered inconceivable, no longer are.”
The United Nations in a report launched at the conclave warned that increasingly complex, growing and related risks, from global warming to pollution and epidemics, threaten human survival if left to escalate.
It said new risks emerging "in a way that we have not anticipated" and identified a range of major threats to human life and property, including air pollution, diseases, earthquakes, drought and climate change.
Extreme weather events have doubled over the last 20 years, causing economic losses that are making it "an uphill battle" to maintain development gains in low and middle-income countries, said Mizutori.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) last week showed that 1,600 disasters were recorded in 2018, ranging from monsoon floods in India to wildfires in the United States.
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