Enel in Cancun, models of resilience

Published on Monday, 29 May 2017

After Sendai, it is now Cancun’s turn. Two years after the Third United Nations World Conference on natural disaster risk reduction in Japan, Mexico is hosting the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, the world forum of the UN on resilience policies to tackle earthquakes, floods, drought and cyclones.

It is a meeting (May 22-26) which will also see heads of state and government share information and compare best international practices on resilience, because smart management of the environment and more attentive prevention activities can neutralise the impact of unpredictable natural disasters whose management is very complex.

Enel too is among the protagonists in Cancun, with Carlo Papa, Director of Enel Foundation and Vice President of ARISE (Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies), the alliance launched two years ago in Japan to consolidate collaboration between stakeholders in the public and private sectors in the field of resilience. We are the first global utility to be a member of ARISE, where we can share all our experience in the field of infrastructure safety, with particular attention to risk assessment and the adoption of prevention and management measures in case of emergency, in addition to the use of innovative forms of partnership for the protection of the territory and environment: resilience and sustainability.  

“In recent years, as you know, natural disasters have become more frequent and more serious,” said Carlo Papa during his speech. “According to UNISDR, they cost our economies about USD 300 billion every year. To get an idea, it is more than ten times what we spend on humanitarian aid at international level. […] Clearly, considering the scale of the problem, the public and private sectors must find a way to work and act together. Together we must reduce risk and the impact of future disasters and build a more resilient system."

The ARISE website features two case studies of excellence by Enel.

The first is the training module on resilience provided by Enel Foundation, with the collaboration of the European Regional Office of the United Nations for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR ): the programme, included among the management and business administration (MBA) and PhD courses of leading Italian universities who are strategic partners of the Enel Group saw the participation of more than 120 young talents.

The second case study regards interventions to improve the electricity networks of Palermo and Salerno, urban areas with a high tourist vocation, with smart grid technologies with zero impact on the environment including remote controlled substations and satellite centres.

The UN's commitment to resilience was reaffirmed at an international meeting  of UNISDR in Florence, last year, 50 years after the flood, in the presence of Robert Glasser, UNISDR, and Livio Gallo, Head of Global Infrastructures and Networks at Enel. At Enel, it is an integral part of the Sustainability Report and of the daily effort of all our colleagues to ensure the resilience of the infrastructures that we build and operate throughout the world. Because what will happen tomorrow depends on the choices we make today: as the UN stresses, there are no natural disasters; there are only natural hazards.