SIDS Get Infrastructure Boost
India in partnership with other countries has now launched the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) initiative to roll out on the sidelines of the COP26. The IRIS facility is a joint initiative with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It will help SIDS build climate resilient infrastructure.
The SIDS are a group of 58 low-lying island nations severely threatened by climate change and rising sea levels. They contribute less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, they are among the most vulnerable to climate change and face the highest disaster losses in portion to their GDP. The goal is to enable them to better withstand climate shocks as well as protect lives and livelihoods. India has also offered to create a special data window by its space agency ISRO that would help these countries get advance warnings of cyclones and monitor their coast lines and reefs.
According to CDRI estimates, every $1 invested in making infrastructure more resilient in low and middle-income countries can potentially save losses of over $4 when a disaster strikes. There is widespread acknowledgement that despite the action by countries to fight climate change, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and disasters will likely only increase in the coming years. Here, the aim of CDRI is to minimise the damage and disruptions.
In the context of climate negotiations, this is an important move from India because we are a developing country and yet we are looking to collaborate on infrastructure development in small island countries. It's exemplary that we are stepping up and playing a global roll. Small Island states are the most vulnerable to the impact of Climate Change. Many of them face real and growing threats to their very existence from rising sea and major weather events. There is much that coastal States in small Island States have in common by way of climate challenges. And it is only by working together that we can secure the future from a climate catastrophe.
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