India's Environment Minister speaks at UN Secretary General High Level Round Table
Union Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav spoke at the UN Secretary-General-High-Level Round Table to launch the Early Warnings for All Executive Action Plan, on 7th November, at the World leaders’ Summit, COP 27, Sharm El-Sheikh.
Speaking at the event the Minister Shri Yadav said:“We fully support the Secretary General’s agenda to achieve Early Warnings for All. The global pace of climate mitigation is not enough to contain the rate of climate change. There is an urgent need for the world to acknowledge the cascading natural hazards that cause substantial losses around the world.
But these issues focus our minds for a moment and then soon lose attention as the countries most able to do something about it are the least affected. They are also the biggest contributors to climate change.
The most vulnerable regions are located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Much of the developing world, including India, lies between these tropics. Public expenditures and loss of revenues following the onset of external disasters have already begun to rise in this region with the least coping capacity.
The intensification of tropical cyclones in the Pacific and Caribbean means that some small tropical states have lost 200% of their national income in a few hours. Instances such as these could have devastating consequences in countries that do not have sufficient means to cope with them.
With climate finance still scarce, climate adaptation in the form of early warning dissemination is key in safeguarding lives, and livelihoods. Early Warnings For All play a part in not just containing the immediate physical impacts, but also mitigating the far-reaching long-term socio-economics implications that follow.
India has been working on strengthening end-to-end early warning systems for all hydro-meteorological hazards. This has led to concrete results: We have reduced mortality from cyclones by up to 90% over the last 15 years. On both east and west coasts, we have nearly 100% coverage of early warning systems for cyclones. Similarly for other hazards – such as Heat waves – we are making swift progress, leading to much greater resilience of our communities.
Over the last few years, we have made concerted efforts towards making early warning impact-based as well as more easily understandable and actionable by communities. We have integrated hazard, vulnerability and exposure information to develop Web – DCRA (Dynamic composite Risk Atlas) to enable swift and advanced action on early warnings.
The Cyclone Warning Division (CWD) at IMD, New Delhi also acts as a multilateral Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre for monitoring, predicting and issuing warning services on tropical cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean (one of the six centres in the World) along with 13 countries in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea region. The collaboration helped in the exchange of meteorological data from the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and Arabian Sea countries to IMD and improved monitoring and forecast.
Moreover, the meteorological data of satellite & radar, and model guidance from IMD along with Tropical Cyclone Advisory Bulletins helped the countries to minimize losses of lives. As an example, the number of lives lost has been minimised, being limited to 100 due to tropical cyclones during the last 10 years, not only in India but also in all the countries in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea region for which IMD provides tropical cyclone forecast and advisories.
We would now like to maximize the full potential of Early Warning Systems for not just reducing the loss of lives but also livelihoods and national development gains. India has spearheaded the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) which is working towards developing applications of climate forecast and early warning for reducing infrastructure losses and disruption in basic services.
The Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi at the IRIS (Infrastructure for Resilient Island States) launch in Glasgow at COP26 highlighted the importance of IRIS for human welfare. The Prime Minister said, and I quote “IRIS gives hope, belief and a great sense of fulfilment to the most vulnerable nations. I congratulate CDRI for this. IRIS and CDRI are just not about infrastructure but about responsibility of human welfare. It is the collective responsibility of all of us towards mankind. I consider the launch of IRIS very important. Through IRIS, it will be easy for SIDS to mobilize technology, finance and necessary information faster. Promotion of quality infrastructure in Small Island States will benefit both lives and livelihoods there.”
India has created and is nurturing the CDRI. It has been making concerted efforts to engage various stakeholder institutions and individuals to promote innovation and resilience in infrastructure. One such initiative is the “DRI Connect” which will be a web-based platform for stakeholders engaged in infrastructure sectors. The platform is envisaged to harness collective intelligence of Coalition membership towards creation of new knowledge and actionable solutions to address challenges in resilient infrastructure and foster an environment of action-based learning and innovation on disaster resilient infrastructure.
Currently, CDRI’s Membership has expanded to include 31 countries and eight member organizations. There is growing footprint in Africa region. South Sudan and European Investment Bank are the latest members endorsing the Charter. CDRI’s strategic initiatives, expanding programme, and membership engagement is enabling it to progress towards the achievement of its goal.
Climate finance is still a mirage, and effective climate adaptation such as Early Warnings For All helps us collectively in our region toward reducing vulnerabilities and ensuring preparedness and swift and timely response to natural hazards.”