Launch of "Investing in Resilience: Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future" and "Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia: Policies and Practices"

Opening remarks by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda on 31 January 2013 at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit Plenary Session in New Delhi, India

Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I had the privilege in the previous session of sharing my vision on how to accelerate Asia’s transition to a sustainable, green economy. The key is to de-couple economic growth from intensive natural resource use, to develop human capacity, and to make growth more inclusive.

To move the development agenda forwardin Asia, the region must specifically build disaster resilience and move to a low-carbon development path. Today, we are launching two studies that provide us with insights on how to achieve these: the first is "Investing in Resilience: Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future", and the second is "Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia: Policies and Practices".

Each year, our region typically experiences about one-third of the world’s disasters and is home to 80% of its disaster-affected people.Moreover, the annual economic cost of disasters averages $54 billion, a price we simply cannot afford to pay.

A substantial part of any effort to reduce disaster risk is building resilience to natural hazards. But attaining a resilient state requires multi-governmental, multi-sectoral, and multi-disciplinary collaboration. While this poses significant challenges, we at ADB believe that achieving disaster resilience is necessary and achievable. Many development actions can be instruments for investing in resilience and defining solutions.

The study "Investing in Resilience" invites readers to consider and reflect on approaches and ideas that can strengthen disaster resilience. It covers investments in institutions, legislative and regulatory frameworks, financing mechanisms, incentives for change, and incentives for accountability. It also covers such areas as political commitment, human resource utilization, and knowledge.

One of the most important factors increasingly affecting natural disasters is climate change. The "Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia" study recognizes that Asia is beginning to move onto a path of low-carbon green growth. Many emerging economies are adopting a development model based on competitive green industries and green technologies. For example, China has become the world’s top installer of wind turbines and solar thermal systems. India is expanding biofuels, solar, and other forms of low-carbon energy through renewable energy certificates.

The experiences of these and other countries can be scaled up, replicated, and adapted to conditions elsewhere. Taken together, we have ample reason to be positive, confident, and courageous.

"Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia" deals squarely with the triple bottom line of achieving favorable economic, environmental, and social outcomes through policies for inclusive and sustainable growth. This book gives encouragement to practitioners who are evaluating policy options. It also serves as a valuable resource for those seeking an overview of initiatives in Asia and the Pacific, and options for going forward.

Both studies establish a vision of a low carbon, resilient future and provide a framework and ideas to identify practical actions.  We have great challenges ahead to build a resilient Asia and Pacific region, but they can be overcome. The publications we are launching today will significantly contribute to this endeavor.

Thank you.