Gandhinagar: The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, is supporting the implementation of the second phase of the CapaCITIES project in 2 state governments (Gujarat and Tamil Nadu) and 8 Indian cities (Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli, Siliguri and Udaipur).
In the presence of the Honourable Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, Dr. Ralf Heckner, the Government of Gujarat has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Implementing Agency on the 20th of January, 2021, with intent to formalise the cooperation of the project with the Urban Development and Climate Change Departments.
Additional Chief Secretary and Secretary, Urban Development and Urban Housing Department Mr. Mukesh Puri and Principal Secretary to Climate Change Department Mr. S J Haider signed the MoU on behalf of the two nodal departments that would oversee the implementation of this project. Executive Director of ICLEI South Asia Mr. Emani Kumar signed the MoU on behalf of the IA. Secretary, Housing and Nirmal Gujarat Shri Lochan Sehra and Director of Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) and Chief Town Planner (CTP) of Gujarat Shri Bijal Shah were present on this occasion.
Gujarat has always been in forefront of Climate Action. The vision of State Government is inspired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, who had established a separate and dedicated Department of Climate Change in 2009 in the State. Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Vijay Rupani is heading the Climate Change Department in the State and has given direction to work on Climate Resilience Cities in the State.
Phase I of the “Capacity Building Project on Low Carbon and Climate Resilient City Development in India” (CapaCITIES) project (2016-2019) successfully achieved its stated goal of enabling a lower – greenhouse gas emissions growth path and enhancing resilience to climate change in 4 cities in India (Rajkot, Coimbatore, Siliguri and Udaipur).
In phase 2 (2019-2023), to further the stated goal in phase 1, the project aims to “mainstream climate action in select Indian cities and states by enhancing capacities to adopt integrated climate resilient planning, design innovative finance mechanisms and develop climate resilient infrastructure”. The project seeks to achieve this goal by drawing largely from Swiss expertise on these topics and translating this experience to address the Indian context, with support from partners in India. The Implementing Agency (IA) of the project comprising two Swiss entities – “South Pole Carbon Asset Management” and “econcept”, and the local Indian partner –“ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia”. The National Institute of Urban Affairs is the knowledge partner of the project.
The three project cities of Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara, represented by their respective Municipal Commissioners, have also entered into MoU with the project IA and the two mentioned state government departments, to formalise project execution in the cities.
While Rajkot city made significant strides in their journey towards achieving climate resilience with the support of the project in Phase I; in the second phase, the project has already provided support to all the smart cities of the state in reporting to the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework, a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India and will continue to work with the state government of Gujarat and the project cities to mainstream climate change mitigation and adaptation into development policies not only at the city, but also at the state level. The project will be providing technical support for the development of innovative financing models to ascertain large scale deployment of climate resilient infrastructure and the preparation of relevant policies. Pilot projects that demonstrate innovative climate action and financing mechanisms will also be implemented.