Two international conferences held in February in India have heard calls from UN officials to focus on smart cities as a win-win-solution to sustainable development and climate change.
17 February 2015: Two international conferences held in February in India have heard calls from UN officials to focus on smart cities as a win-win-solution to sustainable development and climate change.
Addressing the RE-Invest conference, which took place in New Delhi, India, from 15-17 February 2015, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg stressed the development benefits of the deployment of 100 GW of solar energy installations across India by 2022 in line with the Indian Government’s plan. He noted that confronting climate change and smart economic growth go hand in hand, and commended the focus on cities by India in this sense.
Smart cities were also on the agenda of the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) earlier the same month, which included thematic discussions on: safe and clean transport in sustainable cities; Asia’s smart future cities; and policy challenges for Indian cities in the context of urban transport and climate change. The theme of environmentally sustainable and smart cities was also discussed during a high-level corporate dialogue event.
In a keynote address to the DSDS, Takehiko Nakao, President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) outlined key challenges for the development of inclusive, green and resilient cities, including: urbanization of poverty; environmental sustainability; and vulnerability to climate change. He announced that ADB would provide support to India’s 100 Smart Cities initiative, and would continue to play a role in the development of Asian cities for the success of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The 100 Smart Cities initiative was also commended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a high-level visit to India in January. Addressing the DSDS, Ban stated that, if investments in new infrastructure for cities, energy and agriculture are directed towards low-carbon options, “we will be on our way towards a more sustainable, equitable future.” He warned that a failure to do so would risk achieving the SDGs.
The RE-Invest conference was held in support of India’s aim to scale up renewable energy in the country and aimed to promote global investments in the sector. The conference received a total of 2,860 registered participants from 42 countries, including representatives of 578 Indian and 124 international companies. The DSDS 2015 took place from 4-7 February also in New Delhi. [UN Press Release on Bloomberg Speech] [UN Press Release on Ban Speech] [UN Press Release on Ban Visit to India] [IISD RS Story on the 2015 DSDS] [DSDS Bulletin on Nakao Speech]