Available speeches on YouTube:
Mr. Shyam Sunder Patil, Additional Commissioner, Thane. Click here.
Ms. Rakshaben Boliya, Mayor, Rajkot. Click here.
Whether ‘model’ or ‘satellite’, the Indian cities who attended the first Urban LEDS national workshop, that took place in Delhi on 5 September 2013, had two things in common: a number of impressive results already achieved and the ambition and commitment to go even further and switch to low emission development, thanks to the activities that they will implement, with the support of ICLEI South Asia, through the Urban LEDS project.
The EU funded project, in partnership with UN Habitat, aims at creating eight model cities in four emerging nations (India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia). This will be done by developing and promoting replicable Urban-LEDS (Urban Low Emission Development Strategies) to be implemented in the Model Cities; matching appropriate technological and policy-related solutions to the specific needs of the local authorities involved will enable them to carry out the selected priority measures. The inclusion of knowledge and expertise from European cities will add value to the learning and exchange process.
Mr Shouvik Datta, from the Delegation of the European Union to India, confirmed in the inaugural session that technology transfer has been a component of many of the recent projects launched by the EU, and that a two way exchange between Indian and European cities is a great example of fully using this opportunity.
Subsequent to the inaugural session, joined also by the Commissioner of Panaji, Mr. Sanjit Rodrigues; the Mayor of Rajkot, Ms. Rakshaben Boliya; the Additional Commissioner of Thane, Mr Shyam Sunder Patil,; and ICLEI South Asia Executive Director, Mr. Emani Kumar, the project was introduced to the audience. The cities involved (Thane and Rajkot as Model Cities, Nagpur, Shimla, Panaji, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Coimbatore and Gwalior as Satellite ones) shared then their achievements and future plans with the workshop participants, including representatives from the national, state and local level, as well as representatives from other knowledge partners like the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) and funders such as KfW (the German Development Bank).
Whether it was about RE & EE measures (Rajkot and Coimbatore), mitigation and adaptation activities (Thane), water savings (Nagpur), waste reduction and recycling (Panaji), upgrading of infrastructure (Pimpri-Chinchwad), street lighting (Gwalior), or solid waste management (Shimla), all cities had already a lot to report on. Their involvement in the Urban LEDS project proves their serious commitment to go beyond the current status and work towards a long-term and more sustainable way to continue their growth.
The discussion that followed the presentation brought to light several needs of the cities, which will be addressed through project activities. The technical and financial support for mainstreaming and integration of climate appropriate planning that the project offers, can help bring together parallel planning processes and strategies, largely carried out in a compartmentalized manner.
Lots of emphasis was put on appropriate technologies; in the project, the availability of experts and a “basket” of appropriate technology solutions and related policies, will enable the identification of innovations suitable to the local context, guaranteeing their long term sustainability and application.
Usha Raghupathi, from NIUA, while praising the project cities for their commitment, highlighted that these are concrete examples of local governments implementing solutions on the ground, which can and has to inspire many other Indian cities to follow, thus ensuring a much wider impact.
Capacity building was often mentioned as a crucial need of local authorities, as well as one of the main benefits offered by the project. The capacity building workshops planned in the project will be carried out to cater specifically to the implementation phase – technology and technical providers will be invited, together with experts, to interact with the city administration and work directly at the local level.
The city representatives present at the workshop highlighted the richness of information and experiences shared by other cities in the meeting and were happy to be able to already go back with more ideas and inspiration. The interaction with cities from other four countries, in the next three years of the project, will amplify even more the benefits coming from the exchange and sharing of best practices.
For more information about Urban LEDS, visit the project website: http://urbanleds.iclei.org.