The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organised and hosted a Roundtable Dialogue on Climate Resilient Cities in India, under the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation-supported CapaCITIES project, on the 28th of November in New Delhi, India.
The event was organised with support from the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), as part of the government’s action towards building a national climate alliance. ICLEI South Asia is part of the implementing consortium of the CapaCITIES project, along with econcept and South Pole.
Kunal Kumar, Mission Director, Smart Cities and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India (GoI) in his inaugural address, pointed out that there was a need to create capacity and build many champions on the ground to promote climate action. "A systems approach to climate action is needed. Systems need to be developed and come together at the local level and should be supported by the national government," he said.
The purpose of the meeting was to identify partnerships and actionable outcomes towards climate¬-resilient urban development. It also aimed to initiate dialogue and deliberation on climate change action that are being undertaken by cities. Through the dialogue, the event helped to strengthen engagement and provide impetus to climate change-linked urban development by sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas amongst various stakeholders.
Representatives from various cities and states shared their views and expectations on implementing climate actions at the local level by discussing the existing level of integration of climate in infrastructural development projects and the challenges therein.
Representatives from various cities and state governments asked for financial assistance while also recognizing the need for developing their own managerial and technical skills, including adopting financial reforms and monitoring systems.
Translation of central level policies to suit local needs, development of supportive local policies and allocation of funding based on holistic development plans were identified as major requirements by cities like Surat, Rajkot, and Coimbatore. Cities like Siliguri, Rajkot, Kochi also requested technical assistance for implementing climate actions.
During the discussion on Financing Climate Resilient Actions, prioritising existing funds and filling the gap between existing funding and good projects was recognized as some of the big challenges in funding climate actions.
Multi-lateral and bi-lateral funding agencies such as ADB, WB, GIZ and others were present during the dialogue. They pointed out the need for cities to develop infrastructure projects that include climate resilience as an integral part and identify innovative and scalable technologies to be able to attract finance.
They advised cities to work with their state urban development departments to develop strategic proposals on climate action.
Instead of preparing projects based on available funding, cities must learn to delink development planning and finance.