Transitioning the Path to Resilient Infrastructure through Performance-based Standards

Day 2, 5 May 2022, 1100 - 1230 IST

Session Annotation

The session will focus on the critical role of standard-setting bodies and knowledge institutions in mainstreaming resilience into practice within the infrastructure sector and identifying pathways to disaster resilient infrastructure (DRI) through performance-based standards.  

The session will discuss initiatives by standard-setting bodies and knowledge institutions for DRI through existing as well as new and innovative solutions. It will emphasize the importance of performance-based standards and on-ground infrastructure in achieving the targets of DRI.  

The session will begin with a keynote presentation by International Organization for Standardization, followed by a panel discussion to reflect on challenges, opportunities, and organizations’ roles to expedite the inclusion of resilience into standards. It will conclude by inviting standard-setting bodies and knowledge institutions in different countries to collaborate with the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) for developing performance-based resilience standards for critical infrastructure sectors. 

Session Overview

Challenges of disasters and climate change attract enormous efforts and investment for the creation of new knowledge, solutions, and materials to build disaster resilient infrastructure (DRI). However, the path for adoption of new knowledge and solutions as part of practice, especially in critical infrastructure sectors, is not straightforward. The multiple dimensions of capital investment, technology development, and stakeholder buy-in create challenges for incorporating resilience in infrastructure. Standards offer opportunities to address these dimensions as a unified implementable solution for mainstreaming resilience in infrastructure development. 

Several agencies are involved in the process of standard-setting, and their eventual application in practice at different levels. Global organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Europe's CEN/CENELEC and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) set standards for different sectors that are applicable globally. At national levels, government institutions and departments are involved in developing and promulgating standards and regulations, such as the British Standards Institution (BSI) in the UK, and Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) in India, etc. Further, knowledge institutions such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), World Roads Association (PIARC), etc., influence creation of new standards using latest research and developments.  

Amid the global transitions, including technological and infrastructural changes, new questions arise with regards to standards and resilient infrastructure. What new energy or transport infrastructure will be built in the years to come. Are the current standards able to support these new-age infrastructure systems? How can standards help in managing cascading risks, given deeper integration across infrastructure systems?   

The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) aims to facilitate the design and adoption of resilience standards, for critical infrastructure systems and their assets.  In this context, it is imperative to bring standard-setting bodies and knowledge institutions together for this session on mapping transition pathways to resilient infrastructure through performance-based standards to explore the following key questions: 

  1. Beginning with the system architecture - codes of practice/ guidelines/ standards, how does it all bind together and situate for disaster resilience? 
  2. What are the limitations of existing standards in promoting disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure? How mature are the existing standards for resilience to climate hazards? 
  3. How to structure service-level benchmarks for disaster resilience considering system-of-systems perspective? How are these global performance benchmarks, often executed as certification systems, instrumental in delivering resilient infrastructure? 
  4. How are these systems adopted in high and low- and middle-income countries? What are the barriers to using these? How do legal and compliance mandates come into play?  
  5. As per World Bank’s report, 2/3rd of the world’s infrastructure is yet to be developed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the coming decade. How can the current limitations of these systems be addressed for securing upcoming infrastructure systems and assets in the LMICs? 
  1. Transitioning to net-zero gives an opportunity to build-in disaster resilience throughout the infrastructure lifecycle. What new standards will be required for building resilience of new-age infrastructure systems? What are the enabling conditions required to mainstream resilience of upcoming infrastructure in net-zero future? 

  1. What role can standard-setting organizations and knowledge institutions like CDRI play in encouraging and expediting resilience into developing standards and subsequently their adoption? 

The session will provide valuable information about the efforts being taken by standard-setting bodies and knowledge institutions to include resilience in infrastructure standards.  

The session will also provide critical inputs and connections to CDRI for taking forward its programme on standards, certification systems, innovation, and knowledge management.