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ICLEI South Asia E-News

November & December 2016

Emani Kumar
Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI and Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia

Greetings!

Negotiations and developments at the international fora in the last two months have clearly signalled an increasing role for local governments in the coming years in fighting climate change and achieving sustainable development.

While the Paris Agreement, now into force, has provided a strong foundation for inclusive climate action, the COP 22 in Marrakech was more seen as the COP of solutions where local and regional leaders identified capacity building efforts, integration between the local and subnational levels and the global financial ecosystem, and knowledge transfer on funding sources and technical solutions as priority areas of action.

Cities from different regions across the world, including South Asia, placed themselves as vital partners in shaping the international climate scenario for the future and contributed to several discussions that leveraged their role in sustainable development. In Morocco, ICLEI South Asia also focussed on building partnerships for district energy systems in cities and for low emission development in Asia.

Just a month before COP, the New Urban Agenda was adopted at Habitat III, in Quito. We are happy that an agenda that is inclusive has now been adopted and we also acknowledge that the agreement is expected to have more implications on Asia whose urban spaces are booming at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, we are very hopeful that the city governments will contribute more to develop interventions which can both produce tangible improvements in urban areas and make the SDGs a success. Also, I am proud to share that Rajkot, an ICLEI Member city from India, has been honoured as the “National Earth Hour Capital” at Quito.

The ICLEI South Asia team has recently launched the PROMISE project in Delhi with an aim to improve local authorities’ capacity to perform as development actors. Also, under AdoptIUWM project, we have recently launched the draft of an integrated water management toolkit that is an attempt to address the common water-related issues that impact Indian cities. You will find more details on these launches in the newsletter.

This newsletter features two key people associated with ICLEI South Asia – the District Collector of Warangal from India and a sustainability champion who works with ICLEI South Asia.

With this, ICLEI South Asia wishes you all a very Happy New Year.

Enjoy reading!

At Marrakech Summit, local and subnational governments chart a path to strengthen climate action

The Marrakech Roadmap for Action welcomed the Paris Agreement, while reaffirming the role of local and subnational governments as key partners to support the design and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). The document emphasized the need to more effectively transfer resources to local and subnational governments such that they can establish human, legal, regulatory and engineering capacities needed to achieve their climate goals.

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Melaka GHG Emissions Inventory report released at COP 22

The State of Melaka has developed a GHG Emissions Inventory with a plan to meet the national mitigation targets in Malaysia. The country intends to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by 45 percent by 2030 relative. At the COP 22, the Chief Minister of Melaka released the inventory appreciating the efforts taken by the State of Melaka.

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District Energy in Cities initiative gathers momentum in Marrakech

The impact, progress and scale-up plans of the District Energy in Cities Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were discussed at COP 22. Speaking at a panel discussion, Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director at ICLEI South Asia, indicated that Indian cities are gearing up to plan for and test the implementation of District Energy Systems in India and the initiative is gaining the much-required political will and support from leadership at the local level.

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At COP 22, Asia LEDS Partnership Secretariat seeks strategic linkages with more countries and organisations

At the recently-concluded COP 22 in Morocco, the team from ALP Secretariat held discussions with the LEDS Global Partnership and several national government representatives, including representatives from Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India and South Korea. Linkages of the Asia LEDS Partnership with other international initiatives and organisations such as the Global NDC Partnership and KEICO from South Korea were also discussed.

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Nations adopt the New Urban Agenda, framing sustainable urban development for next 20 years

ICLEI welcomes the New Urban Agenda, through which nations commit to enhance engagement with and strengthen local governments. This document also translates concepts long used by local governments into language for and by national diplomats. These are positive developments.

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Discussions at Quito on local action in South Asia

Sessions at Quito witnessed discussions on issues and solutions around low carbon development, building energy efficiency, nexus approach, mobility solutions, among others. ICLEI South Asia participated and contributed through the panel discussions and shared information on ground work, city twinning, partnerships and approaches being adopted by it in the South Asian region.

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ICLEI elects its First Vice President at Quito

The Global Executive Committee and ICLEI Council elected Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, Germany, as First Vice President of ICLEI. Sridharan brings 20 years of municipal administrative experience to Bonn and to ICLEI, having worked for the City of Koenigswinter as of 1996. By 2010, he was leading many aspects of the Koenigswinter municipal operations as Head of Finance, Schools, Sports, Culture and Town Twinning.

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Towards a new urban paradigm: An opinion by By Tikender Singh Panwar, Deputy Mayor of Shimla

I think while speaking about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), resilience or the new urban agenda, it is imperative to understand that the cities are not just about the inorganic material consisting of mere infrastructure but constitute the organic material, set of relations in between the socio-economic dynamics of the system – what I call the forces of production or the base.

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Rajkot honoured as Earth Hour City Challenge national capital in Quito

In an award ceremony organised by Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) in Quito, Rajkot city from India won the title of National Earth Hour Capital out of the 10 Indian cities that participated in the challenge. The city’s credible actions in energy conservation, renewable energy and energy efficiency have been acknowledged as the models to follow and emulate for other local governments of similar size. Paris took home the title of Global Earth Hour Capital for the initiative funded by WWF.

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Project cities share experiences on IUWM implementation at national workshop for Toolkit launch

Supported by European Commission and in partnership with ICLEI European Secretariat and Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG), the project aims at testing an IUWM framework adapted for Indian cities, based on the principles of the research project ‘Switch – Managing Water for the City of the Future’. The project involves building capacities of local governments in India to undertake water sector reforms through the adoption of IUWM based principles and practices in their planning and implementation process.

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ICLEI South Asia launches PROMISE project at a meet in Delhi

ICLEI South Asia, with partner Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), formally launched the PROMotion of Inclusive, Sustainable Growth and Diversity to Strengthen Local Governments (PROMISE) project on November 24, 2016. Supported by European Commission, the project is being executed in four cities – Ajmer, Karnal, Jabalpur, Warangal – and aims to improve local authorities’ capacity to perform as development actors for improving quality of life in an inclusive manner.

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Amrapali Kata, IAS, a young, inspiring District Collector of Warangal, Telangana

“The big persistent gap between what is envisioned at the Centre and what is expected of administrators at the ground level is a challenge for local governments,” says the District Collector as she gets candid on her role as an administrator. Ms Kata also acknowledges the role and need of facilitators like ICLEI South Asia in helping local governments combat such challenges.

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Meet Tejas P Shinde, sustainability champion at ICLEI South Asia

Tejas P Shinde, Senior Engineer, Energy and Climate tells us why he thinks cities have many opportunities to address climate change and how climate is everyone’s concern. “Discipline begins at home, and so does sustainability. Every individual should be taught to believe that he is at the centre of climate change and it is as much his concern as it is of anyone else’s across the globe,” he says.

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