Experts, Academics, Business leaders, Policy makers, And my dear friends from across the world,
I am delighted to join you at the fourth edition of the International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. At the outset, we must remind ourselves that the solemn promise of the Sustainable Development Goals is to leave no one behind. That is why, we remain committed to meeting the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable, by building the next generation infrastructure to realize their aspirations. And, infrastructure is not just about creating capital assets and generating long-term return on investment. It is not about the numbers. It is not about the money. It is about people. It is about providing them high quality, dependable, and sustainable services in an equitable manner. People must be at the heart of any infrastructure growth story. And, that is exactly what we in India are doing. As we scale-up the provision of fundamental services in India… From education to health, From drinking water to sanitation, From electricity to transport, And much more, We are also tackling climate change in a very direct way. That is why, at COP-26, we have committed to attain
'Net Zero' by 2070, in parallel with our developmental efforts.
The development of infrastructure can unleash human potential in remarkable ways. But, we must not take our infrastructure for granted. These systems have known and unknown challenges, including climate change. When we launched the CDRI in 2019, it was based on our own experience and felt needs. When a bridge gets washed away in floods, When a power line is broken by cyclonic winds, When a communication tower is damaged by forest fires, It disrupts the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people directly. The consequences of such infrastructure damage can last for years, and affect millions of people. So, the challenge before us is quite clear. With modern technology and knowledge at our disposal, can we create resilient infrastructure that is built to last? Recognition of this challenge under-pins the creation of the CDRI. The fact that this Coalition has expanded and received wide support from across the world indicates that this is our shared concern.
In the short time of two and a half years, the CDRI has taken important initiatives and made valuable contributions. The initiative on 'Infrastructure for Resilient Island States' that was launched at COP-26 last year, is a clear expression of our commitment to work with Small Island countries. CDRI's work on strengthening the resilience of power systems has already benefited communities in coastal India, by reducing the duration of power disruption during cyclones. As this work progresses to the next phase, it can be scaled-up to benefit over 130 million people who are exposed to tropical cyclones every year. CDRI's work on Resilient Airports is studying 150 airports around the world. It has the potential to contribute to the resilience of global connectivity. The 'Global Assessment of Disaster Resilience of Infrastructure Systems' that is being led by CDRI, will help create global knowledge that would be immensely valuable. CDRI Fellows from across the member states are already producing solutions that can be scaled-up. They are also creating a global network of committed professionals that will help shape a resilient future for our infrastructure systems.
To make our future resilient, we have to work towards a 'Resilient Infrastructure Transition', which is the primary focus of this conference. Resilient infrastructure can also be the centerpiece of our wider adaptation efforts. If we make infrastructure resilient, we prevent disasters not only for ourselves but for many future generations. It is a shared dream, a shared vision, that we can, and we must, translate into reality. Before I conclude, I would like to congratulate the CDRI and the United States Government for co-hosting this Conference.
I also wish to extend my best wishes to all the partners who have co-created this event. I wish you all fruitful deliberations and productive discussions.
Thank you very much.