CDRI Fellowship 2021

National Maritime Foundation (NMF) was amongst the 21 organisations that were awarded the first-ever Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRIFellowship (2021-22) in March 2021, for its project on, Assessing Climate Change Risks-to and Resilience-of India’s Seaport Infrastructure and Operations. The project was completed on 30 June 2022 and the report will be released on 04 October 2022.


Assessing Climate Change Risks-to and Resilience-of India’s Seaport Infrastructure and Operations


In the increasingly interconnected and interdependent contemporary world, trade forms a significant component of every major economy; for India, trade accounts for over one-third of the total economy. Around 95 percent of India’s merchandise trade, by volume, travels through the sea in cargo ships. India has 12 major ports and over 200 non-major ports that facilitate this trade which is expected to continue to grow in the future. In 2021, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways of the Government of India unveiled the “Maritime India Vision 2030” which outlines a growth model focussed on building world-class greenfield ports, creating ‘smart ports’, modernising existing ports, promoting port-led industrialisation and public-private partnerships. While this ambitious vision and the development projects identified under it are critical in facilitating India’s transition from a “Brown Economy” to a “Blue Economy”, they are being and will continue to be seriously impeded by the ever-growing impacts of anthropogenic climate change. In this context, this study aims to assess the threats posed by climate change in the form of more intense and frequent extreme weather events and sea-level rise to India’s port infrastructure and operations. A climate-change-risk assessment framework and methodology were created which utilise a combination of available climatic data, field-based research, and expert-interviews with port officials to generate “climate-risk profiles” of Indian ports. The framework was tested and implemented through case studies of two of India’s major ports, namely, the Mumbai Port Authority (on the west coast) and the Paradip Port Authority (on the east coast). Findings from the two ports were compared to bring out the differences and commonalities in the challenges facing individual ports. The study highlights the urgent need for devising comprehensive and dynamic climate-change adaptation strategies for individual ports and a concerted policy framework at the national level to ensure long-term security and sustainability of India’s maritime trade sector.

About CDRI and the fellowship:

The Prime Minister of India launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure during his speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, USA on 23 September 2019.  It is an international partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions that aims to promote resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development.  The CDRI announced the 2021 fellowship programme on 01 September 2020 to promote research and innovation on disaster resilient infrastructure.  The fellowship provides financial aid of up to US$ 10,000 for a maximum period of 12 months during which the project should be completed.  For the 2021 CDRI Fellowship programme, 143 applications were received out of which 21 winners were awarded the 2021 fellowship.


NMF’s Proposal:

Following the launch of the nation-wide “port-led development” initiative, the SAGARMALA, in 2016, the Government of India has taken a slew of measures to enhance the capacity and capability of India’s maritime sector and facilitate the transition from a ‘Brown Economy’ to a ‘Blue Economy’.  In order to ensure long-term security and sustainability of the proposed and existing maritime infrastructure, we must address the growing climate-change-induced threats of sea level rise and intensifying extreme weather events.  This study will create a climate-resilience-centred policy-framework comprising exhaustive guidelines and tools to make our port infrastructure, including support infrastructure and critical supply chains, more resilient in the face of future uncertainties.

The NMF researchers who will be carrying out the study under this fellowship are:

Dr Pushp Bajaj (Principal Investigator)

Mr Saurabh Thakur

Ms Chime Youdon