G20 countries should have structured mechanism for financing DRR: India

Pitching for a structured mechanism at all levels for financing every aspect of disaster risk reduction (DRR), India on Monday asked G20 countries to find out how they can generate momentum on mobilizing private finance for the sector and ensure that it is not only an expression of corporate social responsibility but part of the core business of firms. 

At the third and final meeting of the G20 Disaster Risk Reduction Working Group here, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said India has transformed the way DRR is financed in the past few years, resulting in a predictable mechanism for financing not just disaster response but also disaster mitigation, preparedness, and recovery. 

Talking about “unprecedented disasters” across the globe since March when the group met for the first time in Gandhinagar, Mishra spoke about heat waves in cities in the northern hemisphere, forest fires in Canada, the haze in many parts of North America, and cyclonic activity in India’s east and west coasts.  

“Delhi experienced its worst flood in 45 years!  And we are not even half way through the monsoon season. The impacts of climate change related disasters are not out into the distant future. They are already here.  They are enormous. They are interconnected. And they affect everyone across the planet,” Mishra added. 

Pitching the need for transformation of local, national, and global systems for preventing the creation of new disaster risks and effectively managing existing disaster risks, the top bureaucrat underlined that disparate national and global efforts actively seek convergence and maximize their collective impact.  

“We cannot afford fragmented efforts that are driven by narrow institutional perspectives. We must be driven by a problem solving approach,” he said, adding that it is important that countries pursue structured mechanisms at all levels for financing all aspects of disaster risk reduction. 

“What kind of enabling environment should the governments create to attract private finance into disaster risk reduction? How can G20 generate momentum around this area and ensure that private investment in disaster risk reduction is not only an expression of corporate social responsibility but part of the core business of firms?” Mishra asked. 

In the area of disaster resilient infrastructure, he said, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is informing how countries can use better risk assessments and metrics to upgrade their standards and make more risk-informed investments in infrastructure development. 

At the end of the deliberations, the G20 countries will come out with a Communique, underlining the importance of DRR which will outline concrete actions to be undertaken at national and international levels. 

Participating in a discussion, Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary (Environment and Forests), Tamil Nadu Government, spoke about the steps taken by the state to mitigate the effects of climate change. She said Tamil Nadu was the first state to launch a Climate Change Fund to finance several critical infrastructure projects and to come out with a Climate Studio in partnership with an educational institution. 

“It is not just about funding and creating infrastructure but putting them to wise use,” she added. 

Baldeo Purushartha, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Union Ministry of Finance, said India launched Green Bonds worth Rs 16,000 crore and a Green Infrastructure Protocol as part of its efforts. “We have understood that investing in resilient infrastructure and disaster resistant infrastructure helps not just save cost but also make it socially inclusive,” Purushartha added.

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