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TAP Time: South Asia

The South Asia TAP Time session on 8 December kicked-off with a scientific overview of the Second Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities ARC3.2 findings for South Asia, presented by Soumayya Ali Ibrahim, International Program Manager, Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN).

According to UCCRN’s recent climate modeling data findings, the majority of Indian cities already experience extreme weather changes. Ibrahim urged, “action at the local level is needed to build capacity for climate change responses”. Without effectively operationalizing climate mitigation and adaptation strategies, heat waves and flash floods, will continue to worsen in both frequency and intensity.

This call to action was answered, with two ambitious projects seeking funding and technical expertise to positively impact the Indian cities of Gwalior and Kochi.

To combat Gwalior’s climate change induced heat waves, water and vector-borne diseases, Emani Kumar, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, presented the Urban-LEDS city of Gwalior’s TAP project, an ambitious and integrated Low Emissions Oriented Solid Waste Management Immediate Plan. According to the Deputy Secretary General, “the project intends to transform the society within the local context, to benefit the entire city including the poor”.

The project will address both mitigation and adaptation, while reducing greenhouse gases and improving urban health. It is currently supported by the national government of India’s “Clean India” project, with a 13% grant.

In an echo of UCCRN’s findings, the Mayor of Kochi was unable to attend the COP21 to present the City’s TAP because oof Kochi’s heavy floods. Julien Allaire, Executive Manager of CODATU, therefore took to the stage on the city’s behalf, and presented the city’s TAP projects – the “Implementation of NMT Master Plan for Kochi with Pilots at CUSAT and Kalamassery” and “New low-floor, hybrid or electrical buses and mini-buses to complement or replace the existing fleet of public and private buses in Greater Kochi”.

Kochi is located in the southern state of Kerala, India, and is the smallest city to build a metro. According to Allaire, “Kochi is really moving to give more access to public transportation to encourage walking and cycling, and increase access to transportation, especially for women and children, to enhance the quality of life for a livable city.”

New and improved low-carbon infrastructure in Kochi will extend roughly 25 kilometers and connect to metro stations “by providing first and last mile connectivity”, according to Mr. Allaire.  If financed, the project will open in 2017.

Both South Asia TAP projects echoed the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships, technical assistance, and innovative finance needed to close the gap for ambitious place-based planning for low-carbon action. For more on the Urban-LEDS city of Gwalior and City of Kochi’s TAP projects click here.