RELEASE: WRI India, Citi Foundation Hold ‘The CityFix Labs’ Policy Dialogue in Hyderabad, Delhi,Bengaluru & Mumbai

Contact: Dnyanada Deshpande, WRI India: dnyanada.deshpande@wri.org

RELEASE: WRI India, Citi Foundation Holds ‘The CityFix Labs’ Policy Dialogue in Delhi • Initiative invites entrepreneurs from across India to join a year-long challenge to accelerate innovations in water, energy and waste management • Training will help businesses pilot and scale sustainability solutions for more efficient cities • In Northern and Central India, solutions are invited from Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and other states

New Delhi, India (October 23, 2018) – WRI India Ross Center, with support from the Citi Foundation, convened TheCityFix Labs policy dialogue today in New Delhi on “Accelerating Innovation: Water | Waste | Energy.” This one-of-a-kind initiative aims at establishing a platform to help coordinate investors, entrepreneurs and the states for public good by connecting the innovation ecosystem across India. To achieve this, a series of policy dialogues are being organized in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The first of these dialogues was held in Hyderabad, Telangana, on 8 October 2018. The CityFix Labs will take applications from private companies and entrepreneurs on new solutions to water, energy and waste management – critical services that often lag behind urban expansion in cities around the world, leading to negative impacts on long-term environmental sustainability, public health and quality of life. Applicants can visit http://wricitieshub.org/thecityfix_labs_india to register their solutions.

Over the following months, WRI India Ross Center will work with winning applicants from across the country to nurture their ideas and evolve their business models to better suit municipal decision-making and markets. Hyderabad will be used as a test case for the pilots. From Central and Northern India, the Labs invite applications from Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and other states. India’s rapid urbanization has led to a construction boom: 35 billion square meters of new buildings are expected to be added by 2050. A large portion of developments under construction today are disconnected from water, energy, sewage and other basic infrastructure.

Evidence from multiple countries demonstrates that resource-efficient buildings are more affordable than non-efficient buildings, particularly when indirect costs, such as public health, economic productivity and pollution are accounted for. Despite the need for a forward-looking approach, current building practices in India are extremely resource-intensive. For a resource-secure future, India will need to drastically change practices and deploy scalable solutions so asset utilization is purposeful and efficient. The CityFix Labs are part of the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative (FSCI), a partnership between WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and the Citi Foundation, to more intentionally drive the market transition towards sustainable investments by combining knowledge-sharing, capacity-building and direct technical assistance to help cities better define and initiate fundable projects.

Speaking at the event, in Delhi , on 23rd October,2018, Mr.Kunal Kumar, Mission Director of Smart Cities, Government of India, said, “India is rapidly urbanizing today, and such urban growth demands innovative solutions. Smart innovation need understanding of the users. In today’s India, citizens are not only consumers but are co-creators and collaborators in the solution-finding for the urban problems.” He added, “We will have to overcome challenges such as asymmetric information and lack of structured dialogue with the stakeholders. The CityFix Labs seeks to addresses such challenges.”

TheCityFix Labs India aims to help promising solutions gain traction with city governments. From January 2019 to April 2019, the Lab will immerse select entrepreneurs and businesses with different stakeholders in the sustainability ecosystem, including government decision-makers, investors, technical experts and consumers, through a series of hands-on workshops and training sessions. The workshops will explore gaps existing in the current policy and regulatory framework, and the changes and resources needed to address them in a timely manner.

Dr. OP Agarwal, CEO, WRI India, said, “Today, the rate of urbanization in India is taking a toll on its existing resources. For healthy and inclusive growth of the nation, there is an urgent need to move towards a sustainable developmental model. The CityFix Labs provides a platform for businesses to connect with state and municipal authorities, and funders and investors. It aims at helping and mentoring start-ups access the capital and markets, and navigate the municipal processes, towards piloting smart innovations for a holistic, sustainable growth.”

Speaking at the event in Mumbai on 25th October,2018, Mr.Sameer Unhale, Additional Commissioner, Thane Municipal Corporation, said, “In India, the next revolution lies in the hands of innovators. Municipalities have always had a monopoly in managing and delivering urban services. We want to invite innovators to dismantle this monopoly. Today, we would like to ask innovators, what would they want from the municipalities in order to build solutions for us.”

Sreekumar Kumaraswamy, lead, Urban Development, WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, said, “Considering the rate at which Indian cities are growing, there is an urgent need to move towards a sustainable future by changing the way we are building infrastructure today, and realigning ourselves towards a resource-efficient future. To do so, we need to support innovations by enhancing the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and start-ups. The CityFix Labs offer a platform for innovators to reach out to investors as well as navigate municipal process to pilot and scale their solutions.”

Speaking at the event in Bengaluru,on 31st October,2018, Ms. Neela Manjunath, IAS, Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (formerly Special Duty Commissioner-2, Revenue Department, Bengaluru (Urban), said, “As cities grow, their maintenance and sustenance become important in order to ensure judicious utilization of resources. Every city has its own civic problems which it is constantly trying to maintain. With the help of WRI India’s TheCityFix Labs, entrepreneurs can go a long way to make small changes to influence problems in water, energy and waste management at a bigger level.”

Jaya Dhindaw, Director of Urban Development, WRI India Ross Center, said, “In India, there is an urgent need to transform built environments to be more sustainable. Assisting investors in identifying opportunities that benefit all stakeholders and helping entrepreneurs access capital and markets and navigate the municipal process will be key to achieving desirable outcomes.”

About WRI India Ross Center WRI India Ross Center is part of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works to make urban sustainability a reality. Global research and on-the-ground experience in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey and the United States combine to spur action that improves life for millions of people. About the Citi Foundation The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.