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To my understanding, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is an international knowledge platform and could help countries for efficient disaster management.

Why are there very few countries in it?

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Like always, there are most likely a whole range of reasons why there are few member states to the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). But I think it is safe to say that money is one of the more pressing reasons why few countries signed up.

With most countries (governments) in the world already in significant debt, this would mean spending additional money they do not have for a situation which may or may not occur to them in the near future. And the conservatives/republicans they have a strong tendency of caring more about money than people, regardless of which country we talk about.

When you look at the list of member countries, you can see that about half of the member states is fairly rich.

You can clearly see that similarly to the mandate of the CDRI, but not included in their primary objectives, even rich countries struggle with this. A very good example is actually the United States. Where it has been proven repeatedly that building codes can greatly reduce damage and increase protection for people who are hit by a hurricane or twister, you still see many houses in the US build from wood, board and bricks. In parts of Australia the building code requires not just concrete but even the roof and the walls being structurally integrated to make it stronger. This will help survive a major hurricane. Likewise, it has been shown repeatedly that the only wall to stop flying timber from penetrating a wall during a tornado is, again, concrete. Yet most houses in the US are not build from concrete. And this is all about money. Short term policies. And here we're talking about the US not a 3rd world country how does not have any money.

The reason I bring this up is because it is a good example that shows that it would require significant investments to achieve such goals. The building materials are expensive. And the construction labour force to do this is simply not in place.

Electricity. Most countries have above ground electric cables. Easy and cheap to install and cheap to maintain because of accessibility. Yet they break much more frequently. And they typically break when there is a disaster and you need them the most.

In addition to all this there is also politics involved. China and India are not the best of friends. Of course China is not going to sign up to this, since the whole plan was initiated by India. And with this, though only 1 country, you capture some 20% of the world population.

In addition to the above, most people hate changes. Why change if what you have works? Never mind it does not work, they think it works, or at least works for them. Or similarly; 'Yes, it happens, but it does not happen to me'. And this thinking is what you also see in governments, because believe it or not, they are actually people like you and me as well.

On a site note, I would like to mention that Mongolia has signed up. A very poor country, landlocked between Russia and China, who both have not signed up. They went through a political transition during the last 15 - 20 years or so, which is far from complete. And they signed up as well! Very encouraging indeed.

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There are many, many platforms, ngo's that faciltate disaster management. For example, the UN coordinates a worldwide network on climate change prevention with climate mitigation. This has added urgency in recent years due to the series of unprecedented global heatwaves.

The platform that you've highlighted is part of this extensive programme of works being launched at a UN Climate Summit Week 2019. There is so little participation because people with the power - western politicians - and China - are not simply living up to their commitments of climate mitigation funds. After all, it is a scientifically acknowledged fact, that the carbon pumped into the atmosphere since the indistrial revolution was mostly done from Western powers fuelling their industrialisation when the aymosphere was thought of as an infinite sink. After all, the Global South are saying they were the least cause of the current climate crisis and yet they are paying more heavily through it because of the poorer infrastructure there isn't resilient against the climate crisis.

For example, the Pakistani Prime-Minster, Shehbaz Shariff has said that Pakistan is not to blame for the climate crisis fuelled disaster that has flooded much of the country, saying:

We are suffering from it, but it is not our fault at all ... we are dealing with a situation that I have not seen in my lifetime. More than one million houses damaged or destroyed and seventy-two districts of Pakistan are in calamity and all four corners of Pakistan are underwater and more than 3,500 km of roads habe been washed away. Arpumd one million animals have died. It is the toughest moment in the history of Pakistan ... Now, I say, without fear, I have not seen such devastation in my life. We request the international community to come and help us and stand by us in this hour.

If these promised climate mitigation funds were forthcoming then these disaster and resilience protocols would see a far greater uptake.

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To be honest, I've not seen a lot of press about it (outside India), so it could be simply because of its obscurity. Other than that, looking at its charter, I can speculate that the permanent/prominent role given to India in the charter

5.5 India shall be permanent co-chair of the Governing Council.

5.6 The other co-chair shall be nominated by rotation by the members of the Governing Council, every two years.

might have annoyed some countries that don't have (too) good relations with India, relative to the benefits of membership. (Concretely for now some $3M in grants, from what I could figure out.) The permanent Secretariat is also located in India.

The other current co-chair is the US--a fact that might have annoyed the Russia+China aligned countries, for the time being. (Neither Russia nor China joined CDRI.)

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the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is an international knowledge platform . . . Why are there very few countries in it?

It is easy for countries to free ride on its efforts by hiring civil servants or government contractors who have assimilated the knowledge that it has developed for a fraction of the price of being a member.

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  • Providing some evidence for your claim would be good. (For instance, that governments have hired contractors or are implementing recommendations from the CDRI without being members.)
    – Stuart F
    Sep 14, 2022 at 9:25

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