His Excellency Dr. Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, attended the 1st City Level Dialogue in Coimbatore as part of the CapaCITIES project on the 16th of March, 2018.
The event was organised by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and ICLEI South Asia to discuss the climate resilient city action plan (CRCAP).
It consisted of an inaugural session and two technical sessions. The speakers for the inaugural session were Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia, Dr. Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, Dr. K Vijaykarthikeyan, IAS, Commissioner and Special Officer, Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation, and Anand Iyer, NIUA.
“We are working with the city to provide technical support for bankable projects with strategic plans for waste water management, reduce pollution of lakes in the city”, said Dr. Baum during his keynote address.
Talking about the project, Dr. Vijaykarthikeyan said: "The CapaCITIES team has worked out a comprehensive problem statement. They have even adopted comprehensive methologies as part of the project. The four major problem areas are: waste management, transport, land-use, and water which could impact the city in the longer run".
Coimbatore Commissioner talks at the event.
Technical Session I – Discussion on Climate Resilient City Action Plan, chaired by Ms. Marylaure Crettaz, SDC, consisted of two subjects namely Climate Resilient City Action Plan – Coimbatore by Ms. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan, ICLEI South Asia and Climate Forecasting for Coimbatore by Dr. S Mohan, IIT Chennai.
Ms. Crettaz started her speech with some praise for Coimbatore’s cleanliness and pleasant weather.
"We try to bring expertise from Switzerland and introduce niche approach for very specific issues. We also try to bring some innovative thinking from our side," she said.
Talking about Climate Forecasting for Coimbatore, Dr. Mohan said: “Our main concerns are rainfall, temperature and urban heat. Downscaling rainfall is a serious problem. We have used the change factor. If the downpour has occurred for an hour, it will be more damaging than rainfall for ten minutes".
This was followed by a group workshop where the audience was divided into four groups to deal with separate sectors and reflect on the identified adaptation and mitigation measures through the CRCAP of Coimbatore. Each group identified 3-5 interventions that they think will work best in the city and elaborated on one of them. The four groups were – Transport, Water, Solid Waste Management, Land-use and Energy.
(From left to right) Ms. Bedoshruti Sadhukhan from ICLEI South Asia, Mr. Aamir Bazaz from IIHS and Dr. S Mohan from IIT Chennai on the panel.
"Integration of different levels of governance is part of the plan. We have the information, we can plan this. The corporation can further circulate information to the public," said Ms. Bedoshruti from ICLEI South Asia.
Technical Session – II: Way forward, moderated by Mr. Shirish Sinha, SDC, witnessed panelists like Ms. Vanitha Mohan, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Coimbatore, Mr. Emani Kumar, Dr. K Vijaykarthikeyan, IAS, Commissioner and Special Officer, Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation.
"We have to create local networks. Innovative partnership is going to be key. Glad to see ICLEI South Asia co-actively considering two important groups in its plan – women and the youth," said Mr. Aamir Bazaz from Indian Institute for Human Settlements.
Some of the key takeaways from the sessions are: need to build local networks, must include women and youth, integration of different levels of governance, slums should be taken into consideration while planning, downscaling rainfall is a problem, parking management should be better, land should be there for decentralised facilities among others.