Fiji affirms commitment to building resilient infrastructure

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Fiji is at the forefront of global efforts to strengthen disaster and climate resilience by pursuing resilient infrastructure development.

This message was conveyed at the virtual International Conference on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (ICDRI 2021), an annual international conference of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) held from 17 – 19 March 2021.

ICDRI 2021 was inaugurated Wednesday by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama; Prime Minister of United Kingdom Boris Johnson; Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi OMRI.

While delivering his statement at the Inaugural Session of ICDRI, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama spoke on the impact of the climate crisis on Fiji’s infrastructure development and the progressive actions taken by Fiji to build back better.

“This past December, 32 of the schools that we rebuilt from Winston lay in the path of another Category 5 super-storm, Cyclone Yasa. Every one of them is open today, as are roads, health centres, and other essential infrastructure that we built back to better, more resilient standards. Meanwhile, our rapidly-strengthening disaster readiness has led Fiji to become the first nation to achieve Target E of the Sendai Framework.

“Our early warning systems played a huge role in shepherding Fijians to safety and avoiding the same catastrophic loss of life we saw from TC Winston.

“We owe that success to the whole-of-government effort we’ve marshalled to build resilience. We mainstreamed adaptation into our national planning, ingraining climate-centric thinking across all aspects of Government decision-making. We have developed a National Adaptation Plan and we have a ground-breaking climate change Bill in the works that mandates that government agency reports on how disaster risks affect its infrastructure assets,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

Reflecting on the importance of global solidarity, he said, “I want to thank my friend, Prime Minister Modi, for India’s leadership to ensure nations recover together from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our efforts to strengthen disaster resilience depend on it. But longer-term, we need systemic reform to our multilateral system that properly values the long-term benefits of resilient infrastructure development.

“Whether it is a seaside Pacific community, a South-Asian metropolis, or farmland across the Mediterranean, we are all at the frontlines of climate-driven disasters, and we all stand our best chance at building resilient infrastructure by working together, learning together, and acting in unison.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama said, “This Conference is our opportunity to bring a more resilient world within reach. And we owe it to our people and to each other to meet this challenge with the urgency, the resources, and the ingenuity it demands.”

The ICDRI brings together governments, private sector, academic institutions and civil society organisations to deliberate on disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure systems and take stock of progress on related elements of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement on climate.

Launched by the Prime Minister of India,Narendra Modi, at the 2019 UN Climate Summit, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) comprises of 22 member countries including Fiji and four member organisations: Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)….

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS