Urban-LEDS II cities continue progress on climate planning, commence implementation of climate-resilient actions

Urban-LEDS II cities in Bangladesh and India are moving ahead with their climate action planning, and are leading implementation of actions in the areas of biodiversity and green spaces, waterlogging and flood management, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and clean air.

The two cities of Rajshahi and Narayanganj in Bangladesh have completed assessments of their climate risks and vulnerabilities. These climate risks and vulnerability assessments (CRVA) have helped to examine the cities’ fragile urban systems through a climate lens to identify their vulnerable areas, hotspots and populations, and are supplemented with hazard-specific maps. The CRVAs were presented and finalized through two Shared Learning Dialogues, conducted with local stakeholders in these two Urban-LEDS II model cities at the end of February 2020. With their GHG inventories and CRVAs in place, Rajshahi and Narayanganj are now poised to develop detailed climate resilience action plans in the coming months.

To advance their priority climate strategies and showcase climate action, the model cities of Thane and Nagpur in India and Narayanganj and Rajshahi in Bangladesh are initiating technical assessments and pilot projects with the support of the Urban-LEDS II project. ICLEI South Asia and UN-Habitat are working in close coordination with the city governments to support the delivery of technical assistance for these studies and pilots that address different sectors:

• The Rajshahi City Corporation’s efforts have helped to transform Rajshahi into a ‘green city’ that is well known for its abundant greenery. However, the city’s CRVA identified that urbanisation and climate change have adversely impacted its open spaces, water bodies and ecological zones, and that different species of birds and plants in the city have reduced over time. Therefore, a study is being undertaken to document Rajshahi’s floral wealth and associated ecosystems to enable integration of biodiversity conservation with urban development. A natural asset map is also being prepared to document the status of the city’s natural resources. A comprehensive open green space plan will be developed, which will include short, medium and long-term strategies to elaborate on how the city will develop, maintain and increase its open green space area and ensure sustainable urban development going forward. In addition, to demonstrate the potential of energy conservation in buildings, an investment-grade energy audit will be carried out for the Rajshahi City Corporation’s main administrative building. Based on the findings of the energy audit, suggested energy efficiency measures are planned to be implemented to showcase technologies and practices and to promote their further uptake in other buildings.

• The city of Narayanganj, which developed its first GHG inventory in early 2020 with the support of the Urban-LEDS II project, now has a better understanding of where and how its GHG emissions can be reduced. To demonstrate renewable energy technology and promote its uptake in buildings, the Narayanganj City Corporation is planning to install rooftop solar PV systems at a multi-purpose community building and a community healthcare center. A pre-feasibility study was carried out by ICLEI South Asia to identify solar PV potential and system design for the selected buildings. One rooftop PV system will be connected to the electricity grid, while another is envisaged to serve as an off-grid system that improves resilience to frequent power cuts. Further, given Narayanganj’s large industrial base, the city government intends to establish ambient air quality monitoring systems to improve air quality. This second pilot intervention will help the city government to monitor air quality as well as prioritise actions and long-term planning for cleaner air.

• Thane city is vulnerable to waterlogging and flooding during periods of high-intensity rainfall, given its proximity to the Arabian Sea and the high amount of annual rainfall that it experiences. The Thane Municipal Corporation is keen to develop an early warning system for flood/waterlogging based on the Internet of Things (IoT) to reduce the response time of emergency services and to safeguard human health and assets. A detailed study has been carried out to analyse rainfall patterns, identify locations of waterlogging and related causes, understand impacts of high tide and rainfall on water levels through hydraulic modeling, and to review installations of early warning systems in other cities. Based on the study, a combination of water monitoring sensors and computational programs will be designed and piloted at select locations to predict incidents of waterlogging and floods. The proposed early warning system will be linked with Thane’s digital platforms to communicate with TMC officials and citizens.

• Nagpur city has identified planning and enhancement of biodiversity and green spaces as a key action in its low emission development strategy. Therefore, the city has commenced a baseline assessment of its floral and faunal wealth, and will develop a Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (LBSAP). The LBSAP will provide strategic guidance to the city government to achieve inclusive governance and support effective management of biodiversity and ecosystem services.