Harnessing the power of the sun and aiming at zero waste: Indian cities work for low emissions development

urban ledsWith both population and economy rapidly growing, India will play a crucial role in any low-carbon scenario.

Two model cities, Rajkot and Thane, and six satellite cities were selected to participate in the Urban-LEDS program, funded by the European Commission and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI, with the objective of enhancing the transition to low emission urban development in four emerging economy countries. Urban-LEDS stands for Urban Low Emissions Development Strategy. Each strategy defines a pathway for a city to move to a low emission, green and inclusive urban economy. Working Methodology for the cities in the Urban-LEDS project is the GreenClimateCities (GCC) Program provided by ICLEI, A comprehensive climate change mitigation program for local governments providing methodology, expert assistance and a network of cities committed to Low Emissions Development.

Rajkot City has been declared a solar city by the Indian government and has taken various initiatives including installation of rooftop solar power plants in office buildings; installation of energy saving units in street lighting; establishment of a municipal solid waste processing plant; introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT).

Like Rajkot, the city of Thane is part of the Indian “Development of solar cities program” and has already set up a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.

In July 2014, an expert visited Panaji, to help the city revise its strategic planning documents and integrate low emission development principles in the spatial planning framework. On its way towards the low-emissions future, Panaji has already achieved outstanding results in waste management: its 4-way waste collection and recycling system set an example in the region.

Also on waste management, Ward 23 of R.S. Puram in Coimbatore, Urban-LEDS city, has now become a bin-free ward and is marching towards achieving a zero waste status. To get there, the ward adopted several measures, including door to door collection of segregated waste, home composting and management of recyclables. Another important pillar is the active community engagement and determination of the sanitary workers and civic body.

“The devastating impact of climate change is visible across the globe with rise in number of adverse calamities each year. Necessary political and collective will by National, State & Local Government is required to make serious headway towards addressing the challenges posed by climate change. At Rajkot we have formulated the Climate Core Team which will prepare a roadmap and guide the city towards a low carbon economy” explains Rakshaben Raghubhai Boliya, mayor of Rajkot.

All UrbanLEDS Indian cities report to the carbonn Climate Registry.


To learn more about the Urban-LEDS project, please visit the website.