UN urges 'Build To Last' - climate emergency demands resilient infrastructure
GENEVA, 18 September 2019 – The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, today called for greater ambition in the construction industry to ensure that key infrastructure is resilient to the impacts of extreme weather events which have displaced seven million people already this year.
Ms. Mizutori said: “There is clear evidence that the humanitarian needs created by extreme weather events are outstripping the ability of the donor community to respond adequately to all the demands. The key to disaster prevention and reducing the need for humanitarian response lies in applying due diligence to how we build schools, hospitals, roads, water supply and sanitation systems, and other public utilities.
“An estimated US$90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure by 2030. If we build to last this is a great opportunity to avoid the creation of new risk and to adapt to extreme weather events. It will increase the possibility of eradicating poverty in low- and middle-income countries by reducing economic losses.
“Already this year, we have seen huge loss of life and destruction of productive assets in a series of extreme events stretching across the world from the Bahamas to Mozambique to India and Bangladesh. The impact of natural hazards is being amplified by a lack of care in how we build. It is as simple as that.
“We need to build to last. That means understanding risk in a much deeper way than ever before in order to cope with the calamitous impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the world’s weather systems. This is contributing to dangerous storms, flash floods, deadly heatwaves and the abject poverty and hunger triggered by drought. At the same time, we need to take into consideration, strengthening building codes in seismic zones in densely populated cities which straddle major fault lines.
“International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is celebrated every year on October 13 and this year we are promoting target (d) of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which seeks a reduction in damage to critical infrastructure by 2030. Build to last is our theme for this year’s International Day and if we can do this, the world will be better equipped to cope with the climate emergency.”