More frequent and severe disasters bring forth extensive loss and damage to infrastructure, affecting economies, livelihoods and communities. Ten years of inaction with low-resilience infrastructure assets will result in a cost of US$ 1 trillion globally[i]. Each US$ 1 invested in building resilience of infrastructure results in net gains of US$ 4[ii]. Further, a net benefit of US$ 4.2 trillion can be yielded when investing in the resilience of Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Inter-relatedness of infrastructure sectors requires systemic resilience for critical services and public utilities - power, transport, communications, water and wastewater, health and education. This ensures continuous services pre-during-and-post disasters and reduces efforts when “building back better”.

In most countries, design standards and codes of practice with suitable factors of safety exist but quality of built infrastructure and service delivery is poor, leading to low resilience. This is due to lack of appropriate policies for infrastructure maintenance and insufficient governance to ensure compliance[iii].

What then is the low-hanging fruit to avail resilience dividends[iv] for preparedness and endurance? Maintaining infrastructure systems is a key investment in the “short and long term[v]. This is recognized by the G20 Policy Agenda on Infrastructure Maintenance under the Italian Presidency (2020-2021), for availing resilience of existing and new infrastructure assets[vi].

The Data-Technology Nexus

State and private actors can engage in aggregating and distilling critical data on the “health status” of infrastructure for a dedicated infrastructure asset management system. This will enable prioritization of preventive and periodic maintenance activities. Regularly updated “health condition inventories of infrastructure assets” can be established[vii] with the help of technologies [viii] including integrated GPS-based mobile apps with online/digital systems. The benefits are two-fold: enhanced disaster resilience and reduced maintenance costs. Maintenance costs that originally comprise 20 – 60 percent of operational expenditure depending on sector, type of asset and capital expenditure[ix] can be reduced by 20 – 30 per cent[x]. Moreover, well-defined and standardized set procedures and protocols are required through development and adjustment of contextually customized Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and templates in the information architecture. Such solutions can be coupled with available hazard-relevant risk assessment models, for a better understanding of maintenance priorities.

Improved Service Delivery through Knowledge-sharing

Notably, effective governance of the above solutions also requires high quality assurance and compliance. Establishing regulatory measures and integrating “maintenance safeguards” into Environmental and Social Safeguards for infrastructure project appraisals and approvals at the planning stage[xi] can help achieve this. Deployment of skilled manpower and engagement of institutions for a resilient built and natural environment also presents itself as a solution to this conundrum. This presents an opportunity to organize knowledge sharing platforms (online or offline, depending on the status of digital infrastructure locally) for skilling, reskilling and upskilling stakeholders including communities[xii]. Countries could proactively work with development partners including Sector Skill Councils, academia, research and training institutions to develop infrastructure resilience National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualification Packs (QPs) for various occupations. This can help in training a cadre of empowered and willing “disaster resilience compliance” officials, data analysts, engineers and technicians.

Participatory efforts at all levels of the infrastructure lifecycle will ensure that resilience is being implemented on-the-ground, in a sustainable manner.

This year, let us talk about “maintenance for the planet”.


Shailly Gupta, STC – Research, Knowledge Management and Capacity Development, CDRI

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).



[i] Hallegatte, Stephane; Rentschler, Jun; Rozenberg, Julie. 2019. Lifelines: The Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity. Sustainable Infrastructure;. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Mimmi, L.M., 2021. Infrastructure maintenance: Among G20's top priorities. World Bank.

[iv] CDRI, 2023. Global Infrastructure Resilience: Capturing the Resilience Dividend - A Biennial Report from the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. New Delhi.

[v] Mimmi, 2021, p.1.

[vi] Olsen, P. and Wessel, D., 2017. The case for spending more on infrastructure maintenance. The Brookings Institution. Commentary.

[vii] Preez, W.d., 2019. Why Maintaining Public Infrastructure is So Important. Pretoria. IMF PFM Blog.

[viii] Stern,S., Farioli,S., Eisenschmidt,E., Morachioli,S., Kienzler,C., Jeske,D. and Schaal,N., 2020. The future of maintenance for distributed fixed assets. McKinsey & Company.

[xi] Bardhan, A., 2024. Maintaining Momentum: Three Steps Countries Can Take to Make Infrastructure More Resilient. Asian Development Blog.

[xii] Stern et al., 2020.