Through the SDC funded CapaCITIES project, Rajkot city has the taken lead towards addressing climate change related issues at the city level, through various scientific studies and analysis. Rajkot has prepared a detailed “Climate Resilient City Action Plan (CRCAP)”, which addresses both climate mitigation and adaptation, and has the potential to reduce a total of 263,823 tonnes of CO2eq GHG emissions by year 2022-23. Rajkot City Council adopted CRCAP in February, 2019 and has committed to reduce 14% of GHG emissions by 2022-23 as compared to 2015-16 baseline of the city.
Along with addressing carbon emissions through the implementation of various interventions proposed under CRCAP, Rajkot has also come forward to address the issues of increase in temperatures and heat island effect in the city. The city has emphasized the need of improving green cover to reduce heat island effect in the city.
The CapaCITIES project supported Rajkot city in preparing a vegetative cover study to analyse ward-level tree density in the city and identify priority wards for tree planting to improve green cover. The city has already started planting trees in these wards to improve green cover. As it is not enough to just plant trees, but to also protect the trees and the surrounding ecosystem and biodiversity, Rajkot city has taken an additional step forward and established the Biodiversity Management Committee for monitoring, conservation and sustainable utilization of bio resources within its area of jurisdiction, in order to achieve healthy ecosystems which can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters.
Understanding that a greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms, Rajkot Municipal Corporation has initiated the “Urban Forest Program” to develop a 47 Acre area as Urban Forest near Aji, which will not only increase the green cover of the city through native tree species, variety of shrubs, bird nesting plants, bird feeder plants, arboriculture, cactarium, ficus plants, and ayurvedic plants, but will also improve the ecosystem for animals, birds, and other living things such as insects, fungi, and bacteria. The “Urban Forest Program” will also raise people’s awareness on many larger issues, such as pollution, deforestation, and land use.
On 2nd August 2019, on the occasion of his birthday, Honourable Chief Minister Shri Vijaybhai Rupani released the “Climate Resilient City Action Plan” along with the two major initiatives taken by RMC, “Biodiversity Management Committee” and “Urban Forest Program”, which will together make Rajkot more climate resilient and sustainable. Mr. Ganpatbhai Vasava, Hon’ble Minister of Forest, Gujarat; Smt. Bina J. Acharya, Hon’ble Mayor of Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Mr. Banchhanidhi Pani, Municipal Commissioner, Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Mr. Rahul Gupta, Collector, Rajkot, and Mr. Manoj Agrawal, Commissioner of Police, Rajkot were also present at the event.