Editorial - Newsletter August 2019
Claude Van Rooten
Road operators all over the world face increasing and more severe climate events and natural disasters. As a consequence, they need to mitigate negative impacts and design ways to adapt and improve the resilience of transport systems, while operating under tight budget constraints. This is a huge challenge. Over the last 20 years, the reported economic losses due to extreme weather events has risen by 151 % compared to the 1978-1998 period, reaching USD 2,25 billion (UNISDR, 2017). At the same time, global investments needed for roads are insufficient, estimated to USD 34 trillion between 2016 and 2040 while the current trend of investments for this period does not exceed USD 26 trillion (Global Infrastructure Hub, G20)
At the World Road Association, we have identified resilience as a defining issue, which calls for a uniform and holistic approach. There are actually many threats and the issue is multifaceted, including adequate planning and financing, proper funding for asset management, security against man-made attacks, future-proofing, new uses and demands, structural aging of infrastructure... This will be a defining topic of our next Plan of action for years 2020-2023, so that we can prepare relevant recommendations for our members. What's more, the World Road Association has already joined forces with Ifsttar (France) and other partners, and established recommendations to the G20 group of countries on infrastructure resilience. They have been very well received, and the Saudi Presidency of the G20 think tank will probably include the infrastructure issue within its top priorities, which would pave the way for more work and more visibility for this essential topic.
If you want to know more about our activities on resilience I invite you to join us in Abu Dhabi for the 26th World Road Congress. Resilience is the topic of one of our 13 Foresight sessions, alongside 12 others as well as 21 Technical Sessions, organized by our Committees and Task Forces, 41 Poster Sessions, based on our international call for papers, 13 Workshops, organised by our Committees and partners, and many others. You are bound to find a topic that will interest you, and I look forward to meeting you there.
Claude Van Rooten