As part of the ongoing Urban 20 Manthan webinar series, ICLEI South Asia and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) jointly organised a webinar on 27 June 2023, to promote environmental responsiveness. Participants from across the globe, including city officials, experts, urban practitioners and other stakeholders, shared experiences from cities in India, Indonesia and Italy.
In his opening address, Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA, spoke on the launch of Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), which focuses on actions for promoting environmentally conscious behaviour among individuals. He stressed that organisations and the government were responsible for implementing such actions. Mr. Sudhir Sharma, Regional Coordinator, United Nations Environment Programme, gave an overview of the UrbanShift programme funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and highlighted the role of cities in contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. UrbanShift, designed by GEF, takes a holistic approach in addressing these problems, he added.
Mr. Nikhil Mijar, Transport Planner, Pune Municipal Corporation, spoke about various initiatives by the corporation, such as marking Pedestrian Day on 11 December annually to raise awareness about pedestrian-friendly environments, and a School Travel Improvement Plan to enhance children’s independence, reduce dependence on parents, and to minimise the use of private vehicles.
Ms. Fitratunnisa, Head, Pollution and Environmental Degradation Controlling, Jakarta Environmental Agency, gave an overview of important initiatives taken by her city towards combatting climate change. She said that in 2022, Jakarta identified 245 “climate kampongs”, where local communities play a strategic role in adaptation and mitigation efforts, and serve as focal points for implementing climate-related initiatives and engaging with the local people.
Mr. Paolo Gandolfi, Head of the Territorial Development Department at the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, Italy, emphasised the importance of strong collaboration among various levels of government (European Union, countries, regions, provinces and municipalities) and local actors for addressing the issues of air pollution, urban sprawl, climate change and water management.
Moderating the session, Ms. Maryke van Staden, Director, ICLEI’s Carbon Climate Centre, Bonn, Germany, emphasised the significance of transitioning from intentions to concrete actions in order to effectively address the complex challenges of equitable planning.