Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Satya S Tripathi, said the government should not carry out the rebuilding work alone because no government can ever be able to deal with a problem of such a massive proportion.
New Delhi: Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Satya S Tripathi, said the government should not carry out the rebuilding work alone because no government can ever be able to deal with a problem of such a massive proportion.
No particular actor or set of actions can ever bring back Kerala to what it was before the devastating floods, a top UN official said here as he advised the state government to engage all stakeholders including the civil society and private sector in its rebuilding.
"So working with civil society, working with the people, working with the private sector, I think we need to bring everybody together, working with a common goal--that is the only way to do it," Tripathi told PTI on the side-lines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 24) at Katowice in Poland.
Describing people of Kerala as "extremely enterprising", Tripathi said, "hats off to the people of Kerala. I can already see that the government is working with a lot of stakeholders to build a partnership that will help".
While 483 people and thousands of livestock were killed, the disaster happened in the month of August this year incurred immense losses on the state's infrastructure, as many roads, bridges and thousands of houses were damaged/washed away.
Tripathi said the biggest lesson he took away from the massive recovery coordination was the power of partnerships.
He also said it was not helpful to do the same things again because that would not help in the long run and every disaster gives you an opportunity to build better.
"So one needs to look at what was missing. Why did the floods happened to start with and how is it that we have suffered all these deaths and devastation, could we do something differently and I think that is the message for all the tragedy and the immense havoc that was caused on people and property in Kerala," said Tripathi who had served as Senior Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at UNEP.
"It also is a God-sent opportunity to look at the problem from a different perspective and see how we can do better this time. There are opportunities and lessons for all in this crisis," said Tripathi, a development economist and lawyer with over 35 years of experience.
Asked about the arguments by certain experts that dams have played a role in increasing the proportions of Kerala flood disaster during July-August 2018, Tripathi said he leaves that to experts but maintained that the ecological risks to the eco-system overall is far more when you come up with big dams.
"Because while we see the visible benefits of providing water for irrigation and other things, the invisible damages very huge both in terms of eco-system, species and the environment in general," said the top UN official.
He said, "While we are putting up dams and if we are really looking at the environmental impact in a holistic manner, sometimes the visible benefits are made to look very big and the invisible losses nobody looks at till you have a flood of the century."
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Last Updated Dec 11, 2018, 7:20 PM IST