Sustainable and resilient infrastructure provides communities and the environment with their first line of defence against shocks and disasters, and it is also critical for the support it provides in recovery efforts. Infrastructure that is built with enhanced resilience measures is better able to continue to deliver services during and after shocks. However, evidence shows that existing infrastructure systems are increasingly being affected by natural and man-made hazards, and from the impacts of climate change. It is predicted that climate change related damage to infrastructure could grow tenfold under a business-as-usual case scenario, but if infrastructure is made more resilient, these impacts can be reduced. In addition to climate change, the risk drivers of urbanization and unsustainable investment decisions further increase the impact of hazard on infrastructure. This creates the need to enhance the resilience of infrastructure, and to specially emphasize its adaptation to changing climatic conditions over time.
Robust and resilient infrastructure are key drivers of local and national economic growth. Critical infrastructure as a public good, and its importance for the safety of residents and the continuity of vital services, inherently gives governments and public authorities, and in the majority of cases, legally a defined role in infrastructure protection. National, regional and local agencies are responsible for devising legislation and standards, supporting innovation and technology, assigning public funds, providing oversight and regulation and fostering cooperation between infrastructure sectors.
With various players involved in the planning and development of critical infrastructure, fragmented governance poses challenges for efficient coordination and shifting towards more resilient and sustainable infrastructure. It has been argued that we are often not prepared for known challenges because of the constraints of static or out of date standards, technology and governance arrangements. An effective governance approach and frameworks can significantly facilitate effective engagement and investment of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in climate services and thereby ensuring infrastructure resilience. There is a need for robust national infrastructure frameworks and policies that give the basis and the incentive for integrating resilience in infrastructure planning, technology and financing. It is imperative that infrastructure governance for resilience should think beyond just risk and move from risk to resilience-based approaches.
Against this background, CDRI and EU delegation to India in partnership with UK Met office and University of Exeter is organizing a session that will discuss evidence and solutions to climate challenge, governance frameworks, quantifying pathways and new research to inform climate adaptation, climate and disaster risks, infrastructure resilience, and the next generation of climate services. The session will also mark the release of CDRI’s White Paper on ‘Governance for Resilience’ which is being developed in collaboration with the Resilience Shift.