Enabling Resilient, Sustainable and Inclusive Infrastructure Transitions in SIDS and LDCs
Day 2, 5 May 2022, 0730 - 0900 IST
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are among the countries that are most exposed and vulnerable to geophysical, hydrological, and meteorological hazards posing extreme risks to the critical infrastructure systems. To address these developmental challenges, investments in infrastructure systems dominates their national priorities. However, infrastructure systems in SIDS and LDCs also have to cater to the multiple transitions that are influencing the energy demand and consumption patterns. Against this backdrop, this session will discuss the multiple transitions faced by SIDS and LDCs and the approaches for integrating resilience in critical infrastructure namely power, telecommunication, and transport. The session will further explore the potential innovative finance, technology, and capacity building measures that will promote resilient, inclusive, and sustainable infrastructure as these nations transition in the coming decade(s).
SIDS and LDCs are amongst the most prone to disasters due to climate change and extreme events. SIDS and coastal LDCs are particularly affected by sea level rise, coastal flooding and erosion, and extreme events such as tsunamis and storm surges that lead to loss of lives, homes, and infrastructure. For example, in December 2020, cyclone Yasa, caused about USD 1.4 billion in damage to health facilities, homes, schools and other critical infrastructure in Fiji. In 2017, Dominica suffered a damage equivalent to 280% of its GDP due to the impact of hurricane Maria. On an average, natural hazards and extreme weather events cause damage equivalent to 2.1% of GDP every year in SIDS. Apart from the disaster and climate related risks, these countries also face multiple challenges due to their limited resources, geographic remoteness and weak economic diversification which severely limits their ability to recover from disasters. Resilient, sustainable, and inclusive infrastructure plays a key role in addressing these challenges along with presenting opportunities for economic growth. However, there is a large infrastructure investment deficit in these nations. For the Pacific region, a deficit of USD 46 billion for the period 2016-2030 was estimated and the Caribbean requires additional infrastructure investment of USD 1.53-1.91 billion per year. These challenges put the regions in an extremely vulnerable state while dealing with cascading impacts of disasters due to climate change and extreme weather events.
Over the last two decades, SIDS and LDCs have been investing strategically in infrastructure systems to bridge the development gaps and create opportunities for people. With infrastructure construction and operations accounting for 70 percent of GHG emissions and quality infrastructure being crucial in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the need for resilient, sustainable, and inclusive infrastructure is more pronounced. SIDS and LDCs remain committed to strengthening their emission targets and moving towards achieving a more sustainable and inclusive development pathway. To this end, 93% of the LDCs and SIDS had revised their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to increase their climate mitigation and adaptation targets ahead of COP26. 17 of the 18 submitted NDCs by the nations in the Asia-pacific have taken gender into consideration by expanding their consultation processes and engagement with young people, women, and the private sector.1 Along with low carbon transition, SIDS and LDCs are also undergoing other multiple transitions such as demographic transition due to changes in age composition, urbanization in LDCs, digital transformation as part of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery. In the context of these transitions, there is an increasing momentum to build infrastructure assets and services that will cater to the burgeoning urban population.
Against this backdrop, this session will discuss the multiple transitions faced by SIDS and LDCs and the approaches for integrating resilience in critical infrastructure namely power, telecommunication, and transport. The session will further explore the potential innovative finance, technology, and capacity building measures that will promote resilient, inclusive, and sustainable infrastructure as these nations transition in the coming decade(s). Through this session the following questions will be explored:
- In the context of the multiple transitions what are short, medium, and long-term risks that need to be considered when building resilient infrastructure systems in SIDS/LDCS?
- What current approaches are being adopted in ensuring resilience of infrastructure in the context of these transitions?
- What are the various financial, technological, and capacity building measures that enable the SIDS and LDCs towards promoting sustainable, inclusive, and resilient infrastructure?