The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

Context: Rising Temperatures and Electricity Demand in Delhi

  • In the past month, Delhi has experienced relentlessly high temperatures, causing electricity demand to repeatedly break records. 
  • This surge in demand led to frequent power cuts in Delhi and neighbouring areas. Central and eastern India faced similar or worse situations. 
  • The combination of high temperatures and lack of electricity made life miserable and possibly contributed to several heat-related deaths.

About CDRI

About CDRI

Stress on Critical Infrastructure

  • The unprecedented surge in electricity demand highlights the stress that critical infrastructure faces from extreme weather events and disasters. 
  • Vulnerable systems include not only power systems but also telecommunications, transportation, health services, and cyber systems.
  • Disruptions in these services during disasters complicate crisis situations, hinder relief, rescue, and recovery efforts, and amplify risks, sometimes adding to the devastation.

Importance of Infrastructure Resilience

Making critical infrastructure resilient to extreme events and disasters is crucial for climate change adaptation.

Mounting Economic Losses

  • Although early warnings and quick responses have reduced human casualties in disasters, economic and other losses from extreme weather events and disasters are rising due to increased frequency and intensity. 
  • Government data shows that between 2018 and 2023, states spent more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore on disaster aftermaths.
  • These expenditures do not account for long-term costs such as livelihood losses or reduced agricultural land fertility.
  • A 2022 World Bank report projected that heat-related productivity declines could result in the loss of 34 million jobs in India by 2030. Food wastage due to non-air-conditioned transport was already worth about $9 billion annually.

Uncounted Damages to Critical Infrastructure

  • Damages to critical infrastructure like transportation, telecommunications, and power supply are often not included in government figures, especially when privately owned. 
  • However, such damages cause massive disruptions and exacerbate disasters.

Steps Toward Resilience

  • Infrastructure sectors now have disaster management plans in place.
  • Hospitals in disaster-prone areas are equipping themselves with backup power supplies, airports and railways are improving water drainage, and telecommunication lines are being taken underground.
  • Despite this, much of India’s infrastructure remains vulnerable.

CDRI’s Role in Building Resilience

  • The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), an international organization established on India’s initiative, conducted a study on Odisha’s electricity infrastructure. 
  • It found the infrastructure extremely fragile, with significant portions susceptible to cyclonic winds. This situation is likely similar in other coastal states.
  • CDRI aims to make critical infrastructure resilient to natural disasters and is developing into a knowledge hub for implementing these transitions. 
  • Over 30 countries are part of this coalition, working to strengthen their infrastructure. However, few Indian states have sought CDRI’s expertise.

Future Infrastructure Development

  • India is still developing its infrastructure, with much of the proposed infrastructure for 2030 yet to be built.
  • It is more cost-effective to incorporate disaster resilience during construction than to retrofit later. 

Upcoming projects need to be climate-smart, sustainable, energy-efficient, and disaster-resilient.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure 

  • CDRI is a global partnership that aims to promote resilience of infrastructure systems to climate & disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development.
  • Prime Minister of India launched CDRI during his speech at the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019.
  • Objectives of CDRI: CDRI seeks to rapidly expand the development & retrofit of resilient infrastructure towards expanding universal access to basic services, enabling prosperity and decent work.

Functions of CDRI

  • Raising awareness of the benefits of resilient infrastructure and building linkages with other relevant initiatives to achieve this.
  • Serving as a platform for knowledge generation and exchange on disaster & climate resilient infrastructure.
  • Enhancing national and regional standards, codes and guidelines for planning, design, operation & maintenance of infrastructure systems
  • Enhancing practices and capacities to reduce infrastructure damages and losses from disasters and climate change.
  • Enabling technological and institutional innovation for resilient infrastructure systems
  • Making available technical expertise to assist countries to develop resilient infrastructure
  • Advocating for financial arrangements, including risk transfer, supporting development of resilient infrastructure
  • Assisting countries to adopt appropriate risk governance arrangements & strategies for resilient infrastructure.
  • Governance of CDRI: Secretariat of CDRI is located in New Delhi and has three principal bodies: (i) Governing Council (ii) Executive Council (iii) Secretariat.
    • Governing Council: Governing Council is the highest policy-making body of CDRI and will have representation from all members of CDRI such that at least two-thirds of the members of the Governing Council represent national governments. Members of. Governing Council shall be co-chaired by representatives of two national governments with India being the permanent co-chair of Governing Council. The other co-chair shall be nominated by rotation by the members of Governing Council, every two years. 
    • Executive Committee: Managerial body of CDRI that oversees implementation of decisions of Governing Council. It is a 10-member body with Director General being one of the members.
    • Secretariat: Secretariat of the CDRI shall be headed by a Director-General appointed by the Governing Council.
  • Membership: Membership of CDRI is open to national governments, UN Agencies & multilateral banks, private sector, academic & knowledge institutions. 
  • Funding: A large share of the estimated fund requirements to cover the core costs over the first five years has been invested by India. There are no obligations on the part of members to make financial contributions to CDRI.

Initiatives under CDRI 

  • Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator Fund (IRAF):
    • A US $50 million multi-donor trust fund created by CDRI to support global action on disaster resilience of infrastructure systems, especially in developing countries and small island developing countries. 
    • IRAF will play a critical role in equipping the Coalition to deliver on improved infrastructure governance, inclusive infrastructure services and diversified knowledge and financing for resilient infrastructure globally. 
    • IRAF has been established with the support of UNDP & UNDRR and will be managed by UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office. IRAF was launched COP 27 of UNFCCC at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 
    • One of the first initiatives to be supported by IRAF is the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS).
  • Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS):
    • A dedicated initiative co-curated by Small Developing Island States (SIDS) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) partners to promote resilient, sustainable, and inclusive infrastructure development in SIDS. IRIS will cater to all SIDS. 
    • IRIS will design and implement projects considering the demands and absorptive capacities of SIDS and strive to foster SIDS ownership and leadership in the development of resilient, sustainable and inclusive infrastructure.
    • In the initial phase, IRIS will prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable SIDS.It was launched during COP 26 of UNFCCC at Glasgow. 
    • Focus areas of IRIS are:
      • Improved resilience of SIDS infrastructure to climate change & disaster risks.
      • Strengthened knowledge & partnerships for integrating resilience in SIDS infrastructure.
      • Gender equality and disability inclusion promoted through SIDS infrastructure.
  • Biennial Report on Global Infrastructure Resilience: Flagship report of CDRI focusing on critical challenges faced by infrastructure due to disaster and climate risks. The report will develop a Global Infrastructure Risk Model & Global Infrastructure Resilience Index (GIRI) and advocate pathways for nature-based solutions for disaster resilient infrastructure, conduct review of global goals and targets for resilient infrastructure and finance for disaster & climate resilient infrastructure. 
  • International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (ICDRI): Annual conference of CDRI bring together experts and participants from member countries, institutions and organisations to discuss challenges and identify good practices on disaster & climate resilient infrastructure.
  • DRI Connect: An online platform to connect, learn and collaborate towards improved practices, processes and policies for resilient infrastructure systems.

Previous year question

Q. Consider the following infrastructure sectors:

1. Affordable housing

2. Mass rapid transport

3. Health care

4. Renewable energy

On how many of the above does UNOPS Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation (S3i) initiative focus for its investments?

(a) Only one

(b) Only two

(c) Only three

(d) All four

Ans: (d)

Practice questions:

Q. With reference to The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), consider the following statements:

1. The secretariat of CDRI is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

2. Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator Fund was established with support of UNEP and UNFCCC.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)


Secretariat of CDRI is located in New Delhi.

IRAF has been established with the support of UNDP & UNDRR and will be managed by UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office. IRAF was launched COP 27 of UNFCCC at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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