ICLEI South Asia participated in the ICLEI World Congress 2018 which was held in Montreal, Canada from the 19th to 22nd of June. The Congress brought together over 1,000 people and 120 political leaders from 177 cities and regions to discuss sustainable urban development. The South Asian delegation consisted of mayors from the cities of Thimpu in Bhutan, Nagpur and Rajahmundry in India as well as one of our board members Prof. A.K.Maitra. In addition, Former Deputy Mayor of Shimla and Additional Commissioner of Ludhiana also attended the conference.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn and President of ICLEI said: “Building a sustainable world starts with transformation at the urban scale. By sparking and scaling up action in cities worldwide, the ICLEI network will shift the trajectory of global development.”
“We are already committed and want to do more and better for our citizens, our planet and future generations," said Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal, on the opening day.
ICLEI South Asia participated in several plenary and parallel sessions.
In the session ‘Cities-Research: Building Up Science in Cities to Drive Action on the SDGs’, Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia highlighted the significance of research in helping cities contribute to SDGs. He used the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supported Integrated Rural Urban Water Management for Climate based Adaptations in Indian cities (IAdapt) project as the case study.
The session ‘Gender, Urban Development and Adaptation to Climate Change’, organised by IDRC, saw Dr. Monalisa Sen, Programme Coordinator from ICLEI South Asia speaking on the need to involve women and members of marginalised communities in developmental planning. Using the IAdapt project as a case study, she highlighted the challenges of mainstreaming women and marginalised communities for sustainable development.
The session ‘Applying the Urban Nexus Approach to Localise Global Agendas and Promote Vertical Integration: Experiences from Asian cities’ was held where lessons and insights from the GIZ Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) were discussed.
The session was facilitated by Ms. Ruth Erlbeck, Project Director, GIZ Urban Nexus. Introducing the project and its objectives, Ms. Erlbeck said: “The Urban Nexus is an action oriented principle guiding us towards the circular economy.”
Ms. Nanda Jichkar, Mayor of Nagpur and ICLEI South Asia REXCom member, presented on various initiatives being undertaken in Nagpur to realise the ambitions of smart city as well as international agendas like 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. She further stressed on the importance of citizens engagement to ensure successful project implementation.
Ms. Jichkar discussed how Nagpur has rolled out massive citizen engagement process to ensure project success.
“Nagpur is implementing several programs at the local and regional levels that are aligned not only to the national missions, programs and strategies but are also coherent with the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.
Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director of ICLEI South Asia, participated in the session ‘EcoLogistics: The Next Level for Sustainable Urban Mobility’ which looked into future trends and challenges – social, economic, technological, and institutional of urban freight sector, as well as provided examples from leading cities and industry on innovative ways to tackle the challenges of decarbonising urban freight transport sector.
Mr. Ghorpade presented the Ecologistics: Low Carbon Freight for Sustainable Cities project, funded by The Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), where he discussed the current status of transportation and freight logistics in the three Indian cities – Shimla, Panaji and Kochi.
“The city level goods movement and their contribution to emissions have not been documented well for Indian cities. This is a first of such initiative where we develop a plan for reducing the emissions cost,” he said.
Mr. Kinlay Dorjee, Mayor of Thimpu and the GEXCom member from the South Asia REXCom, chaired the session ‘Healthy Cities for All’. The session enabled political leaders, urban planners and community leaders to shape their visions for the future and to renew their commitment to health, sustainable development and initiatives for healthy communities.
Moreover, ICLEI announced a new strategic vision for tackling the development challenges of today’s urban era through the ICLEI Montréal Commitment. The commitment also formally retires the ICLEI 10 urban agendas and introduces the integrated ICLEI pathways:
• Low emission development
• Nature-based development
• Circular development
• Resilient development
• Equitable and people-centered development
“Urban transformation worldwide will shift the trajectory of global development. The ICLEI Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision is a path and a pledge to advance the goals and aspirations set in the global sustainable development agenda,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI. Find the full text of the ICLEI Montréal Commitment and Strategic Vision and the ICLEI Montréal Action Plan here.