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Climate change led to $850 billion global infrastructure loss, says CDRI report

NEW DELHI: A biennial report released by New Delhi-based Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) says climate change has led to an annual average global loss in infrastructure sector to the tune of $850 billion, implying that 14% GDP (2021-22) growth is at risk.

A first of its kind report released by the CDRI puts in perspective problems faced by the Global South and its poor infrastructure governance.

The report has estimated that about 67% of the global value of infrastructure assets is concentrated in high-income countries. The upper and lower middle-income countries account for 25% and 7%, respectively while they carry the highest relative risk with an average annual loss estimated at 0.4%, compared to 0.1% in high income countries.

The report has come out with the first-ever publicly available fully probabilistic risk model — Global Infrastructure Risk Model and Resilience Index (GIRI) — quantifying the average annual losses due to disasters.

The report has analysed nine infrastructure sectors and says to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) nations need to invest $9.2 trillion annually in resilient infrastructure till 2050, of which $2.9 trillion is required in developing countries alone, including India.

Amit Prothi, director general of CDRI, said “the report puts CDRI on the global map with 20 global partners bringing together a unique body of evidence to unpackage the ‘resilience dividend’ making a compelling economic, political, and financial case to radically upscale investment in infrastructure.”This is the first Global South driven report that will influence national policies and infrastructure governance, said Kamal Kishore, member of the National Disaster Management Authority and co-chair of the executive committee of CDRI. The report says high-income countries could witness an increase in annual loss by 11% due to climate change but this figure could increase to 22% in middle-income and 33% in low-income countries.

Andrew Maskrey, coordinating author of the report who had been associated with the UN’s Global Assessment Reports on DRR brought out by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, has emphasised on nature-based infrastructure solutions (NbIS) as a novel and pragmatic approach for infrastructure resilience and strategies that effectively transform risk into resilience.

“Governments can use this report to understand the risk they face, and to realize that it is critical to ensure that all future infrastructure is fully resilient,” Maskrey said.

While average annual infrastructure loss of 30% is associated with hazards like earthquakes & tsunamis, around 70% is associated with climate related disasters like cyclones, floods, storms etc.

It has been estimated that about 80% of the risk is concentrated in the power, transport, and telecommunications sectors where asset building only accounts for 15-30% of overall expenditure over its design lifecycle while up to 70-85% is attributable to operation and management.

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