The Asia LEDS Partnership and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), organised a virtual session on “Implementation of Transformative Climate Action in Cities” at the Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2021 (APCW 2021). The session was organised on the 6th of July 2021.
Key success stories from selected South Asian cities, which had been made possible by national and sub-national policies in combating climate change, were highlighted at the event.
Representatives from national, sub-national, and local-level agencies in the South Asia region presented the highlights of their transformative climate initiatives and also discussed the challenges, opportunities, and key lessons with respect to climate action planning and implementation.
While briefing the audience on the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0 process and highlighting the achievement of Indian cities in realising sustainable development targets, Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA, said, “Capacity building is the biggest tool; based on the data collected from the CSCAF process, it will be possible to develop capacity modules, reforms, and climate action plans at the local level.”
Ms. Sakshi C. Dasgupta, Senior Thematic Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), highlighted the “elevator approach” with which the SDC is pushing for impactful climate change initiatives in India. “We are making sure that cities are at the forefront and that we provide technical support within the country,” she said.
In the session on Climate Resilient Urban Planning and Action – Lessons from Cities, Mr. Amit Arora, Commissioner, Rajkot Municipal Corporation, provided an overview of Rajkot’s journey towards low emission development. He said that Rajkot was transitioning towards climate-resilient planning through the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions under the CapaCITIES project. He highlighted Rajkot’s mitigation targets adopted under the Climate Resilient City Action Plan and the city’s achievements under the CSCAF 2.0. Environmental planning needs to be integrated with financial planning and “environmental costs and benefits need to be factored into the mainstream financial feasibility studies that we have been doing,” he said.
Representatives from Udaipur, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka also shared their learnings and best practices during the session.