Mr. Emani Kumar, Executive Director, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia and Co-Team Leader at CapaCITIES Implementation Agency; and Mr. Daniel Ziegerer, Head, Swiss Cooperation Office and Counselor, Embassy of Switzerland in India met the officials of the Government of Gujarat, on April 19, 2017. The representatives from the CapaCITIES project offered an insight into various components, objectives, timeline and framework of the project. Discussions were also held on cooperation and better implementation.
Rajkot, a CapaCITIES project city, is one of the fastest developing cities and has the potential to absorb new initiatives. Sustainable urban development is the foremost challenge faced by Rajkot.
During the meeting with Mr. Milind Torawane, Secretary – Housing, Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, Government of Gujarat, Mr. Torawane emphasized the need for capacity building and exposure to new technologies, especially for people working in the city corporation. The team indicated the role of National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) which is a project partner, facilitating dialogues between various states and cities.
Interactions were carried out with Mr. Poonamchand Parmar, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, Government of Gujarat. The meeting brought forth the fact that building, water supply, solid waste management and transportation sectors are major areas of concern for the city.
Mr. Shwetal Shah, Technical Advisor, Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat advised the team to apply for the Carbon Disclosure Project- (CDP) and submit the GHG inventory prepared for Rajkot under CapaCITIES project, so that investors and other financiers can approach the city. Findings from the project will be shared with the climate change department with the aim of replicating the initiative in other cities. .
Another meeting was held with Mr. Mukesh Shah, Joint Secretary, Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat to discuss CapaCITIES project along with Mr. Shwetal Shah. Discussions took place on the possibility of reducing the indoor temperature and achieving energy efficiency through changes in material, building orientation and design. The CapaCITIES team has provided technical support in one of the affordable housing scheme projects (Smart Ghar 3) at Rajkot, along with cost effective strategies (external shading, roof and wall insulation and wall to window ratio) which the Rajkot Municipal Corporation is going to implement.
Mr. Mukesh Shah explained some of the initiatives taken up by the climate change department. The climate change department has requested all government departments to provide 2% of their total allocated budget for climate change related activities. Amongst the 24 different government departments of Gujarat, 19 departments have already joined this initiative and the budget of the climate change department for the current financial year 2017-18 is more than INR 3,000 crore. He emphasized the need for climate-related awareness activities in small cities and villages of Gujarat. The department is planning to organize climate awareness exhibitions in 33 districts (three days in each district) of Gujarat, beginning from the Rajkot district. The findings from CapaCITIES can be circulated in all 33 districts during these exhibitions. As training and capacity building is an important component of CapaCITIES, thematic briefs on various sectors and initial findings can be shared in local languages too. As a token, Mr. Mukesh Shah presented a book on climate change written by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, to the team.
In the meeting with Mr. Haider, Principal Secretary, Climate Change Department, Government of Gujarat ,Mr. Haider requested the team to periodically update them about the project. The climate change department will appoint a nodal officer to provide all necessary support from state government, organize meetings with the state officials and facilitate city/state dialogues. The Principal Secretary also introduced Mr. Patil, Deputy Director, Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) to CapaCITIES project team. It was suggested to conduct joint state level dialogues with Urban Development and Urban Housing Department (UD&UHD), GEDA, and CCD, along with officials from cities of Gujarat.
Mr. Daniel Ziegerer introduced the BEEP project and various activities executed in Rajkot under BEEP project during all the meetings.
All the officials advised sharing the project results with the state government to enable the government to provide policy level support for successful implementation of the best practices in various cities across the state. They assured the team with all the necessary support required for the implementation of this project.