Stress testing Chile’s critical infrastructure resilience with a multi-sectoral approach

Source(s): United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure United Nations Satellite Centre
Infrastructure stakeholders conduct stress test

In a trailblazing event held on December 14 and 15, 2023, a workshop focusing on infrastructure resilience was conducted in Santiago, organized by the Technical Working Group on Infrastructure Resilience. This initiative was convened by the National Service for Disaster Prevention and Response (SENAPRED) to delve into the knowledge and contributions that public entities and infrastructure operators can make to strengthen the resilience of infrastructure systems.

This activity is part of the international project "Enhancing Infrastructure Resilience through Strengthened Governance," supported by the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The project aims to increase knowledge and understanding of vulnerability and resilience among infrastructure stakeholders, develop the national capacity to consider risk in infrastructure planning and implementation, and foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among relevant actors for this purpose.

The workshop, convened by SENAPRED, involved the participation of various government ministries, including the Ministries of Energy, Health, Education, Public Works, Transportation and Telecommunications, Defense, Social Development and Family, and Housing and Urban Development. In addition, there were also representatives from CDRI and UNDRR, the United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office (RCO) in Chile, the United Nations Operational Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), and the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (ICSI). These institutions are active in the project's implementation and technical development in the country.

Over two days, attendees engaged in rigorous efforts to stress test the country's critical infrastructure networks and evaluate the state of infrastructure practices using the Principles for Resilience Infrastructure scorecard, which is an integral component of the global methodology developed by CDRI and UNDRR.

The workshop aims at identifying the main threats and vulnerabilities of Chile's infrastructure and estimate the combined risk they pose to the country and its economic sectors. The collaboration and exchange of perspectives among participants were particularly beneficial, resulting in a thorough and multidisciplinary analysis.

The main findings include the need for tailored mitigation and preparedness strategies, the importance of strengthening critical areas to ensure resilience and response in emergency situations, and the relevance of cross-sectoral collaboration for more effective risk management.

One of the participants, Carlos Salinas from the Ministry of Energy, noted, "(...) These types of activities are relevant not only to contribute and learn from knowledge but also to connect with colleagues from other sectors working on the same issues, allowing us to establish or strengthen cooperation to address risks." Similarly, Colonel Cristian Aparicio from the Ministry of Defense highlighted that "(...) in these activities, in addition to making our small contribution, it reinforces our commitment to the country's needs and shortcomings towards a comprehensive view of risk reduction, particularly in a complex issue such as critical infrastructure."

This workshop marks a milestone in Chile's efforts to move towards more resilient infrastructure, prepared to face current and future challenges. Over the next few months, the results of this workshop are expected to be consolidated, and an implementation plan will be defined to advance the establishment of more resilient infrastructure in Chile. These plans will be discussed and validated through another workshop to be held sometime in early 2024. Throughout these activities, Chile is making progress in building the necessary capacity and preparedness to reduce disaster risks and anticipate future challenges, particularly in the context of climate change.

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