The launch of 'Infrastructure for Resilient Island States' - IRIS, gives a new hope, a new confidence. It gives the satisfaction of doing something for the most vulnerable countries.I congratulate the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) for this. At this important forum, I extend my warm thanks to all the leaders of all the allied countries, including Australia and UK, and especially from small island groups, including Mauritius and Jamaica. I also thank the UN Secretary General for sparing his valuable time for this launch.
The last few decades have proved that no one is untouched by the wrath of climate change. Whether they are developed countries or countries rich in natural resources, this is a big threat to everyone. But even here too, the biggest threat from climate change is to the 'Small Island Developing States- SIDS'. It is a matter of life and death for them; it is a challenge to their existence. The disasters caused by climate change can literally take the form of catastrophe for them.
In such countries, climate change is a major challenge not only for the security of their lives, but also for their economies. Such countries depend a lot on tourism, but due to natural calamities, even tourists are afraid to come there.
Although SIDS countries have lived in harmony with nature for centuries, and they know how to adapt to the natural cycles. But due to the selfish behaviour shown in the past several decades, the unnatural form of nature has come to the fore, the result of which innocent Small Island States are facing today.
And, therefore, for me, CDRI or IRIS is not just a matter of infrastructure, but it is part of the most sensitive responsibility of human welfare. It is the collective responsibility of all of us towards mankind. It is, in a way, a common atonement for our sins.
CDRI is not a fantasy emanating from a seminar, but the birth of CDRI is the result of years of brainstorming and experience.
Sensing the threat of Climate Change looming over small island countries, India made special arrangements for cooperation with Pacific islands and CARICOM nations. We trained their citizens in solar technologies, and contributed continuously to the development of infrastructure there. In continuation, today, from this platform I am announcing another new initiative from India. India's space agency, ISRO will build a special data window for SIDS. With this, SIDS will continue to receive timely information about cyclones, coral-reef monitoring, coast-line monitoring, etc. through satellite.
Both CDRI and SIDS have worked together to realize IRIS - a good example of co-creation and co-benefits. That's why I consider the launch of IRIS today, very important. Through IRIS, it will be easy and faster for SIDS to mobilize technology, finance, and necessary information. Promotion of quality infrastructure in Small Island States will benefit both lives and livelihoods there. I have said earlier that the world considers these countries as low-population Small Islands, but I see these countries as Large Ocean States of great potential. Just as a garland of pearls from the sea adorns everyone, so the sea-bound SIDS adorns the world.
I assure you that India will fully support this new project, and work closely with CDRI, other partner countries and the United Nations for its success. Greetings and best wishes to CDRI and all small island groups for this new initiative.
Thank you very much