TERI study of Uttarakhand and Goa recommends integration of climate resilience measures into national and state urban planning

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TERI study of Uttarakhand and Goa recommends integration of climate resilience measures into national and state urban planning New Delhi, July 8, 2016: At a national conference on improving climate resilience of our cities held today, TERI recommended the dovetailing of appropriate measures into the national and sub-national planning, such as the town planning schemes and city development plans. It also said that financial allocation for resilience building and adaptation projects should be made part of the larger urban framework. The recommendations were the result of a two-year TERI study of Goa and Uttarakhand – ‘State level policy research and engagement for mainstreaming urban resilience’. The initiative was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Climate change is one of the foremost emerging challenges, the impacts of which are increasingly manifesting themselves through highly erratic instances of weather deviations and induced extreme events. While both urban and rural areas are vulnerable to climate change, its impacts on cities and towns are of particular concern due to high concentrations of people and infrastructure in these areas. In this context, the objective of the study was to facilitate a dialogue on mainstreaming climate change concerns in public policy and planning at multi levels of governance for building urban climate resilience. The concluding conference highlighted the experiences of the two topographically different states along with replication insights for other coastal and hilly regions. A Working Paper and State specific policy briefs were also released during the conference. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI said, “Cities are our engines of growth – we need to make sure that they are resilient engines, capable of adapting to, and absorbing the impacts of extreme climate events. TERI’s work with states and cities shows us that this is possible.” Shri R R Rashmi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change, Government of India said that city systems are complex, and there is now a need to focus on city-based emissions instead of sectoral emissions. He added that the power and experience for building resilient infrastructure must come from within our own resources. Senior representatives at the conference included those from Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), World Resources Institute (WRI), Chennai City Connect and city representatives from Panjim and Shimla. Key recommendations and insights from the study are as follows: 1. Institutionalizing decision support systems • Data – Establishing a knowledge repository of climate data at the state level • Vulnerability analysis and risk profiles for the urban areas in the state- Detailed hazard, risk, and vulnerability studies. 2. Capacity building- Institutionalization of a planned mechanism to ensure regular training and skill building programs. 3. Implementation and enforcement of existing plans and policies – The State Climate Change Action Plan, State Disaster Management Plans and Flood Management Plans are all effective instruments for climate adaptation planning. 4. Inter-departmental coordination-being a cross-sectoral subject requires inter-linkages through coordination and dialogue amongst the concerned departments and agencies. 5. Integrating urban resilience in the existing policies and regulations: Considering that the resilience options are not independent of the regular sustainability goals and planning needs of the city, it is pertinent to dovetail climate resilience to the urban development framework. This means integrating:  Climate-related issues and addressing them through the state-level acts and regulations. E.g., the State Town Planning Acts could have clauses that integrate climate parameters into master planning processes  Resilience interventions could be included into the development regulations of the cities, e.g., building byelaws, development controls, and zoning regulations  Integrating measures to bring in climate resilience into national and sub-national schemes and plans such as the town planning schemes and city development plans. 6. Financing urban resilience-Financial allocation for resilience building and adaptation projects as part of national and state level schemes About TERI TERI is an independent, not-for-profit research institute focused on energy, environment, and sustainable development and devoted to efficient and sustainable use of natural resources. Since its inception in 1974, TERI has emerged as an institution of excellence for its path-breaking research, and is a global brand widely respected by political leaders, policy makers, corporate entities as well as the civil society at large.

Contacts: TERI – Pallavi Singh: 9873191597 I pallavi.singh@teri.res.in Avian Media – Avika Sood: 9818829707 I avika@avian-media.com