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ICLEI South Asia E-News

April 2018

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


ICLEI South Asia has made great strides in the month of March. His Excellency, Dr. Andreas Baum, the Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, visited Coimbatore to attend the First City Level Dialogue under Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supported CapaCITIES project. He also visited the pilot project sites in the city. Dr. Baum laid the foundation stone for a biomethanation plant and inaugurated the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (AAQMS) at the Town Hall.

During his tour, Dr. Baum interacted with members of the Women’s Association of ward 22 as the Association is actively participating in the implementation of a pilot waste segregation project – SUNYA – in the vicinity. Overall, it was an interactive and successful trip.

We participated in the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership Joint Forum which was part of the Clean Air Week programme in Bangkok. Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director at ICLEI South Asia, was one of the panelists at a session where cities from the Asia Pacific region shared their experiences on air quality improvement.

We also co-organised a stakeholder engagement event, with Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA), on 'Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Urbanising India' in Delhi. The workshop brought together an array of stakeholders and practioners to discuss the ecosystem service benefits provided by peri-urban areas, which are critical for sustainability of urban spaces as well.

On International Women’s Day, we took part in the social media campaign #PressforProgress, and promoted inspirational quotes from ICLEI women employees across the region. In addition to this, we spoke to some women leaders in our network to share a message for our readers.

Also, don't forget to read blogs contributed by our staff and share your feedback. Happy reading!

First City Level Dialogue in Coimbatore under CapaCITIES Project

His Excellency, Dr. Andreas Baum, Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, attended the First City Level Dialogue in Coimbatore as part of the CapaCITIES project which is funded by the SDC. The event was organised by National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and ICLEI South Asia to discuss the Climate Resilient City Action Plan (CRCAP) for Coimbatore. Some of the issues brought up by the participants were: the need to build local networks, integration of different levels of governance, inclusion of slums while planning, parking management, and land for decentralised facilities among others. Apart from the Ambassador, Ms. Marylaure Crettaz, Head of SDC, Dr. K Vijaykarthikeyan, IAS, Commissioner and Special Officer, Coimbatore; and Dr. S Mohan, IIT Chennai were the key speakers.

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Swiss Ambassador Inaugurates AAQMS, Establishes Biomethanation Plant in Coimbatore

As part of the CapaCITIES project, supported by the SDC, the foundation stone for a biomethanation plant was laid by Dr. Andreas Baum, Hon’ble Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan and Dr. K Vijaykarthikeyan, IAS, Commissioner. He also inaugurated the AAQMS at the Town Hall. The Hon’ble Ambassador planted a sapling at one open dumping site which has been cleared under the project, and handed over the keys of an organic storage bin to the sanitary inspector of ward 22. He also interacted with members of the Women’s Association of the ward where a pilot waste segregation project – SUNYA – is being implemented.

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ICLEI South Asia Participates in Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership Joint Forum

Mr. Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Deputy Director, ICLEI South Asia, represented the organisation at United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership Joint Forum in Bangkok. He was one of the panelists at a session entitled 'Inspiring Action by Local Government and Citizens for Clean Air Objectives', which was co-organised by ICLEI East Asia. In this session, leading cities from the Asia Pacific region shared their initiatives and solutions for improving urban air quality in their cities. The session also highlighted outcomes from the 9th World Urban Forum, which discussed implementation of the New Urban Agenda, and how clean air solutions can support in achieving the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Understanding Nature’s Benefits in Kochi

Technical Expert Dr. Julian Rode from Helmontz Centre for Biodiversity (UFZ), our technical partner in Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) funded Interact: Bio project, visited Kochi. He conducted a workshop on 'Nature's Benefit in Kochi' which aimed at understanding the critical ecosystems for a city and at evaluating the services being provided by the same. In the initial presentation, the concept of ecosystem services was explained to the participants, followed by hands-on group exercises where the participants worked and identified the ecosystem services provided by two critical ecosystems to a coastal city- mangroves and backwaters. He also visited some of these areas in the city. The inputs provided by Dr. Rode will help to identify possible pilot projects which will be implemented in the city through the project.

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Asia LEDS Partnership Announces Community of Practice

The Asia LEDS Partnership has launched three Communities of Practice (CoPs) on energy, transport and finance. In 2018, each of the CoPs will focus on peer to peer learning, expert assistance and knowledge exchange through discussions, workshops, seminars, and case studies. The CoPs provide opportunity for sustained engagement among countries for learning and technical collaboration. They also provide additional direct technical support for government organisations or its representatives to receive support in advancing LEDS. The ALP invites suitable nominations and partners to co-develop any of the CoP, provide technical support and co-sponsor other activities.

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Stakeholder Engagement Event on 'Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Urbanising India'

A workshop on 'Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Urbanising India' was organised by Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) and ICLEI South Asia, with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as the technical partner, in New Delhi. The engagement event helped to bring forth perspectives of a varied range of stakeholders on this little understood issue. The crucial role of mainstreaming ecosystem service considerations in the planning process was recognised. Panelists advocated the use of spatial planning tools, need to demand accountability from leaders and emphasised on the criticality of integrated regional planning, communication and awareness.

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This International Women's Day, we witnessed a strong social media campaign around #PressforProgress to motivate people to be gender inclusive. Keeping the spirit going, we asked women leaders in our network to share some messages for aspiring women.

"I think it is time that women take charge and be their own boss. It is not something negative to lead at your workplace, or even in the house for that matter. We need to make this a positive idea contrary to how it is usually portrayed in our society. Being a leader doesn't make you a bad person, especially for a woman. I encourage all aspiring women to dream big and have the will to make it happen."
- Mrs. Soumini Jain, Mayor of Kochi

"It is good to see the change in today's women about giving their work life a priority, and yet not giving up on their families. I think it is commendable how women can balance and multi-task so beautifully. Having said that, we still have a long way to go. I would like to salute all the women who are breaking stereotypes and fighting for their rights in everyday life."
- Mrs. Nanda Jichkar, Mayor of Nagpur

"Women's Day reminds the society how women now participate with men in every sector. In fact, they are not only participating but also succeeding. I encourage people to celebrate every festival as Women's Day and help get those women to step out who are still struggling behind the four walls."
- Ms. Renu Bala Gupta, Mayor of Karnal

Kochi Airport, a Role Model for us to Adopt Organic Farming?

The organic vegetables grown at the airport are quite a rage now. In the year 2016, 40 tonnes of vegetables were grown and sold. I am looking at Kochi to become the lighthouse for the rest of the world in utilising the space and technology which goes hand in hand, writes Mr. Tikender Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla.

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A Road to Resilience: Implementing ICLEI-ACCCRN Process in Bangladesh

The ICLEI ACCCRN Process (IAP) has been developed by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability’s South Asia and Oceania offices through involvement with the Rockefeller Foundation supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilient Network (ACCCRN) program, writes Md. Jubaer Rashid, Senior Project Officer, ICLEI South Asia.

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National Exchange Workshop under PROMISE Project

ICLEI South Asia is organising a national exchange workshop under its on-going PROMISE project on the 19th and 20th of April, 2018 in one of the project cities - Karnal. The workshop will focus on updating the participants on the on-going project activities and share sector specific learnings from all four project cities namely Ajmer (Rajasthan), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Karnal (Haryana), and Warangal (Telangana).

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Resilient Cities 2018

Resilient Cities 2018, the 9th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation, will be organised from the 26th to 28th April, 2018 in Bonn, Germany. The annual forum is organised by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and co-hosted by the City of Bonn, Germany.

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ICLEI World Congress 2018

ICLEI World Congress 2018 will be hosted by the Ville de Montréal on the 19th to 22nd June, 2018 in Montreal, Canada. At the Congress, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), scientists, urban planners, policymakers, conservationists and other key stakeholders will explore nature as a key tool for more sustainable urbanisation.

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