India to Help Island Countries Build Climate Resilient Infrastructure (Infrastructure for Resilient Island States – IRIS)

India has launched an ambitious initiative for assisting in developing the infrastructure of small island nations called Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS). Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this initiative during the COP26 summit and stated that it will give a new hope and confidence as well as satisfaction of doing something for the most vulnerable countries which face the biggest threat from climate change.

Modi was joined by his British counterpart Boris Johnson on second day of the COP26 climate summit here in Glasgow. The launch of Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) was also attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The last few decades have proved that no one is untouched by the wrath of climate change. Whether they are developed countries or countries rich in natural resources, this is a big threat to everyone,” Mr. Modi said.

Stating that the Small Islands Developing State (SIDS) face the biggest threat from climate change, Mr. Modi said it was a matter of life and death for them, it was a challenge to their existence.

Prime Minister also informed the world about the special arrangements made by India for cooperation with the island nations in the Pacific region in the wake of the threat of climate change. In this initiative, Indian Space Research Organization, (ISRO) India’s space agency will build a special data window for these countries in order to provide them timely information about cyclones, coastline monitoring, coral- reef monitoring through satellite.

Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS)

•IRIS aims to strengthen the critical infrastructure in small island nations against disasters which are induced by climate change.

•IRIS is the first major initiative taken by India under the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) which was started in the year 2019.

•IRIS seeks to operationalize the CDRI initiative, as Small Island states are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

•CDRI is the 2nd international climate initiative by India in 2019; the first was the International Solar Alliance, launched in 2015.

•This initiative was launched as a global partnership to promote resilient climate-proof critical infrastructure in member countries.

• There are 26 countries as the member of the coalition, including US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

•This coalition will not create any kind of new infrastructure. Instead it will act as a ‘knowledge centre’ for member states to share and learn best practices with respect to disaster-proofing of infrastructure.

•It will work towards making existing as well as upcoming infrastructure in member states more resilient and robust against the climate disasters such as floods, cyclones, forest fires, heat and rain.

•The objective of CDRI is to minimise the loss and disruptions.

•As per CDRI, for 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.