According to reports, apart from dealing with civic woes and completion of delayed development projects in the city, the city municipal corporation has the additional responsibility of ensuring that urban development is in tune with its goals for preserving the environment. It is precisely because of this reason that the civic body participated in the seminar on climate resilience and its impact on urban development and Finance in India’ with the support of Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), Rockefeller foundation and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) here in the city on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening session of the day-long discussion, SM Velusamy City Mayor said that the civic body was focussed on ensuring that ecological factors were given due prominence while preparing urban development projects to be implemented in the city. The city corporation was aiming at a 35 percent cut in its total energy requirement by opting for eco friendly renewable energy sources including solar energy, he said.
“We are now replacing our streetlights with energy efficient LED lamps. We have proposed to install 22,000 LED lamps within city limits and we will be saving at least 57,53,071 KWh of electric power every year after the installation of these lamps,” said Velusamy.
R A Rajeev, Commissioner of Thane Municipal Corporation who was one of the key speakers at the event invoked the massive Mumbai flood in 2005 as an example for the need for better climate mitigation and adaptation measures in urban centres.
“There is an emerging trend where financial planning for urban developmental projects is now taking climate change and its effects as a key factor,” said Hajo Junge, Senior Urban Governance Specialist, Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA). According to Hajo Junge, financial planning according to climate resilience will consist of two important components, climate adaptation and climate mitigation with equal prominence to both components.
“The relevance of climate change and its implication on financial planning is evident from the fact that the Union Ministry of Finance has constituted a Climate Change Finance Unit,” said Arnab Bose from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India.
The objectives of the seminar were to identify the main urban services, infrastructure investment and financial challenges faced by Indian cities. The panellists also highlighted the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission being executed, as most projects undertaken by local civic bodies have missed the 2012 deadline for completion.
However some participants begged to differ due to various ‘practical’ reasons. “It is true that city development plans should include climate change and adaptation measures but the scope of execution and implementation of most proposals mooted by the experts are abstract and will be difficult to implement,” said MA Azeem, Commissioner, Vijayawada Municipal Corporation.
Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner TK Ponnusamy, Shimla Corporation Mayor S Chauhan , Kamlesh Yagnik, Secretary Surat Climate Change Trust and other senior officials attended the seminar.