New York
United States of America

Resilient Infrastructure: Key to the Success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Organizer(s) India - government United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
By Invitation Only, 13:30 - 14:30, Conference Room A, United Nations Headquarters

The September 2019 Climate and SDG Summits call for a pivot in ambition on climate and development goals. Making systems and infrastructure resilient is key to achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. This side event explores the challenge of meeting the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while also promoting sustainable economic development, through investments in resilient and sustainable infrastructure.

Infrastructure appears as an explicit SDG (Goal 9) but also underpins seven other SDGs: Affordable and Clean Energy (Goal 6), Clean Water and Sanitation (Goal 7), Sustainable Cities (Goal 11), Good Health (Goal 3), Quality Education (Goal 4) and nature-based solutions Life Above Land (Goal 15 ) and Life Below Water (Goal 14) and provides the basis for Decent Work and Economic Growth(Goal 8). Essential services provided through infrastructure are critical for all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social.  Estimates project that over US$ 90 trillion will be invested globally in infrastructure by 2040, especially in developing countries.  At issue is how to ensure that these new investments are made disaster and climate resilient to meet the challenges of rapid and unplanned urbanisation, increasing disaster risks and a changing climate. In addition, the world faces the challenge of retrofitting existing critical infrastructure to address the joint challenges of increasing disaster and climate risk.

Global economic losses from disasters are already estimated at USD 520 billion per year and are expected to grow.

The impact of disasters on infrastructure manifests itself either as the outright destruction of an infrastructure asset due to a high-intensity disaster event, or, the gradual degradation of assets over successive medium or low-intensity events. The poor typically bear the worst brunt of such events as they often lack adequate resources for coping with disasters. Thus, the downstream effects of the loss and damage to infrastructure may be felt for years after the event, including through its cascading impact and service disruptions. Added to this is addressing the challenge of stranded assets, because of the imperatives of climate action including decarbonisation.

This side event will provide an opportunity for the Government of India and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) to provide an overview and objectives of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), which launches on 23 September. This new multi-country, multi-stakeholder Coalition aims to promote knowledge exchange and provide technical support to countries on implementing disaster and climate resilient infrastructure.

The infrastructure decisions made today will have a lasting impact on future generations and will also largely determine whether the objectives of the Sendai Framework, Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs are achieved.  This side event will also explore the significance of investing in resilient infrastructure to achieve climate and development goals and will be guided by questions such as:

  • What are the key challenges to making systems and infrastructure resilient and how can these be overcome, especially in developing countries? 
  • What are the financial and investment levers that can be deployed to accelerate resilience building and climate adaptation?
  • What are the key innovations and solutions- technical, financial, partnerships- that can be replicated and scaled-up?
  • How can international cooperation, among governments and with international organisations, the private sector and experts, be strengthened to strengthen joint action for resilient infrastructure?

The announcement of the launch of the CDRI will be made by the Government of India at the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019.  The notion of CDRI has been developed over the last two years involving substantive consultations with more than 35 countries from across the world representing a wide range of development, climate and disaster risk contexts including advanced economies, developing economies, small island developing countries and landlocked countries. The CDRI will work at the intersection of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Side Event will be an opportunity to discuss the follow up to the launch of the CDRI and establish key milestones for its work over the coming years.


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