Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Integrated Approach For ‘National Infrastructure’ Agenda Incorporating Resilience & Efficiency


Bringing in a systemic change in the disaster management approach to promote better designing and sustainable financing.

Dailycsr.com – 13 November 2018 – Bechtel has made a commitment of contributing hundred ideas for supporting the “2030 Sustainable Development Goals” of the United Nation, whereby it has requested the Institute for Sustainable Development’s experts to suggest better ways for collaborating “disaster response and recovery plans” into the “national infrastructure agenda”.
As per SDG 11, the target is to usher in a substantial increment in the “cities and human settlements” number that adopt and implement “integrated policies and plans” that promote “inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters” besides developing and practicing at all levels a “holistic disaster risk management” following the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Harvey, one could safely say that a re-thinking to the disaster management approach is very much required, as the annual cost of disaster relief has been doubling in every ten years since 1980. Carrying on this unsustainable financial practice, the more is spent on “localized emergency ad hoc responses” while strengthening the country’s resilience is being ignored. Therefore, Stephen Jordan and Steve Rochlin suggest that it is time to make environmentally secured investments to safeguard “public safety, risk management, economic growth, and fiscal restraint”.
Most of the time, the fund used for disaster relief goes into building existing facilities although not much attention is paid to make necessary changes in the systems, as a result amongst other one think that comes forward is a “significant donor fatigue”. When one such donor was approached, she informed that she became “tired of funding the same mistakes. There’s a moral problem with helping people put themselves back in harm’s way”.
Moreover, there also needs to be wise investments for enhancing environmental security through upgrading “physical infrastructure and economic competitiveness”. Additionally, one needs improve the systems of communal functions so as to minimise the future disaster impact on them, while making them “economically and socially” sustainable to pay for itself. It is for this reason that the policies that we adopt needs to be in the view of “Design better, then build” which countries like Japan and Germany exemplify.
Here are some points that could be taken into consideration for planning disaster response and recovery steps, while Stephen Jordan and Steve Rochlin suggest that these could also be incorporated “in to the national infrastructure agenda”:
  • Shoring up of natural defenses and environmental security. For too long policy-makers and citizens alike have overlooked the vital role that natural habitats perform in preserving our security. Stewarding and refurbishing barrier islands, forest growth, storm water run-off and capture, greenways, wetlands, sand dunes, and other environmental features are vital in managing and mitigating the damage from floods, wind, storms, and fires
  • Using technology to build “smarter” infrastructure – such as sensors, cameras, wiring, transmission and distribution devices – to make transportation and other public infrastructure better able to withstand extreme events while simultaneously enabling platforms for future economic growth and cost containment
  • Social system support – the quality of services for low income and middle class Americans in the region need significant quality upgrades. Extreme events do not just cause pain during their peak activity – they exacerbate chronic stresses, and lead to ongoing failures that can be felt months, if not years later.
  • Applying design thinking – in some cases, roads, houses, complexes, and the interface between the built and natural environments were originally laid out by British surveyors before the American Revolution. The way some towns were designed might have made sense in the horse and buggy era, but why follow the same path when we have new technologies and better materials and engineering? Isn’t it morally more responsible to design better, than to put people back into situations where they are inherently vulnerable?