We are living in a time where cross-cutting crises are being lifted to a world level with climate change, environmental destabilization, increasing populations, economic uncertainty, and public health threats such as COVID-19 leading us to rethink our next steps and question our workings in the past decades. 

Elevating the capacities of Indian cities on climate change: CapaCITIES Phase II

By Vivek Jain, ICLEI South Asia

We are living in a time where cross-cutting crises are being lifted to a world level with climate change, environmental destabilization, increasing populations, economic uncertainty, and public health threats such as COVID-19 leading us to rethink our next steps and question our workings in the past decades.

With urbanization growing even faster, cities are in the center of attention. They constantly reflect their needs, and the current need of the hour is protection from the COVID-19. The cities are facing a huge impact as they are at the forefront of the response to the pandemic as they are so densely populated and are struggling with mobilization. Cities will see lasting changes from their physical form to economic and community structures post the pandemic situation. Though the air quality of most Indian cities has been improving due to a complete standstill, the situation will change after the COVID – 19 with most of us breathing hazardous air again, and thus climate change is still of paramount concern. اربح مال مجانا But all crises also pave the ground for innovative solutions and changes to overcome cumbersome situations.

Preparing for a sustainable future for Indian cities

Thus, the CapaCITIES project is working towards combating climate change with all of us working from home for strengthening city level and state level capacities to effectively address climate change challenges by providing technical advisory services. The implementing agencies: South Pole and its implementing partners ICLEI South East Asia and Swiss experts econcept are creating a robust ClimateResilientCities Process (CRCP) in consultation with involved city and state governments and are creating updated city profiles for the project cities. The South Pole team is specifically working on strengthening the capacities of Urban Local Bodies/Municipal Authorities and local organizations to develop financially viable climate-resilient projects to upscale climate actions at the city level. We are developing various types of financing projects that will enhance the cities’ access to climate finance and thus, support India in achieving some of its sustainable development goals (SDGs) by developing concepts for public-private partnerships that can be bankable or co-financing types of projects. Innovative financing instruments are also being explored to further enhance access to climate funds for all the project cities.

Given the new challenges and to avoid future pandemics, we are adjusting our activities and are envisaging targeted projects in lieu of the above objectives and to reduce the impact of climate change and pandemic prevention. We focus our attention particularly on redesigning urban policies towards:

  • nature-based solutions (urban forestry, tiny forests),
  • decentralized infrastructure solutions (renewable energy, organic waste, etc.),
  • innovative financing methodologies to finance particularly most needed projects.

Nature-based solutions

Therefore, In the city of Rajkot in Gujarat, we are supporting local authorities by developing a nature-based solutions approach by proposing an urban forest in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat. The city has a very low tree density and the proposed solution is to develop an urban forest using the government and private land through an online portal where citizens can buy/gift trees to each other in return for a tree certification and google location of the tree designated in their names. This will not only enhance the green cover leading to enhanced GHG removals but also spread awareness amongst the community and a sense of responsibility towards climate change.

Decentralized infrastructure solutions

Similarly, we are also establishing a concept of introducing decentralized solutions by the development of an ideal residential society. The idea is to develop a decentralized infrastructure where renewable energy is the main source of electricity, urban farming is implemented on the ground, vertical gardens/tiny forests are developed, organic waste is utilized efficiently. This will help the city in adopting a climate-resilient infrastructure and lead the city towards a low carbon pathway and hence, achieve multiple sustainable development goals and India’s nationally determined contributions.

The above projects are only a glimpse into a more comprehensive and interesting line of projects proposed in the coming months.