NEW DELHI: The United Kingdom (UK) has become the first co-chair of the India-led global climate initiative, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), which was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the UN Climate Summit in New York in September last year.
Launched as a big adaptation tool to prepare the world to face the wrath of extreme weather events due to climate change, the CDRI will create a mechanism to assist countries for upgrading their capacities and practices with regard to infrastructure development as per their vulnerability, disaster risk and economic needs.
The UK, which will host crucial UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, was on Friday confirmed as the first co-chair of the governing council of the CDRI. The governing council is the highest policy-making body of the CDRI. The secretariat of the Coalition will be in New Delhi.
The confirmation came after first council meeting of the body over video-conference where the UK was represented by its secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Alok Sharma. Indian side was led in the meeting by P K Mishra, the Prime Minister’s principal secretary.
Though Sharma, president of the COP26, was supposed to visit India for this and many other meetings, he could not turn up due to Coronavirus pandemic and rather participated remotely over video link from the UK.
“I was pleased to be able to join the inaugural meeting and confirm the UK as the first co-chair of the CDRI. Delivering action on climate change remains a priority for the UK and I am sure that the UK-India partnership on climate action will help see progress on reducing emissions and help make India’s infrastructure fit for the future,” said Sharma as quoted by an official statement of the British High Commission (BHC).
Being president of the COP26, Sharma will have tough diplomatic job to bring high-emitting countries such as China and India on board for raising their respective climate action ambitions ahead of the Conference in November.
Many scientific reports, including from the IPCC, have noted that the current pledges of all the countries together would not keep the world on path of the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global average temperature rise within 2 degree Celsius by the end of this century from pre-industrial level (1850-1900).
In this backdrop, the CDRI can play an important ‘adaptation’ role in preparing the vulnerable countries for, at least, facing the impact of disastrous consequences of climate change due to temperature rise beyond 2 degree Celsius and minimising the loss.
The CDRI is voluntary international grouping, linking governments, UN agencies, banks, private sector groups, and academia to develop the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks.
India will provide support of Rs 480 crore to the Cooalition for a corpus required to support research projects, setting up secretariat and covering recurring expenditure over a period of five years from 2019-20 to 2023-24.
“The UK will provide technical advice and expertise to help set up and build the Secretariat and advance the objectives of the Coalition. The initial focus will be on disaster and climate risk analysis and governance of infrastructure,” said the BHC’s statement.