Gujarat will host the U20 summit and discussions on : Sustainable Urban Area
G 20 is a matter of pride for us, but along with G20, India, and specially Gujarat, is extremely proud of the fact that this time Ahmedabad is becoming the host of Urban 20 summit. The summit will also discuss the sustainability of urban areas of G20 countries and will also bring very constructive results. The U20 Summit has been held with great success for the past five years, and last year Jakarta hosted the summit. On the one hand, when half of the world’s population currently is living in cities and when it is already predicted that cities will be home to two third of the world’s population by the year 2050, it is the world’s priority to make cities sustainable, not just for one country, but for the whole world. At such a time, U20 is not only a summit but also a hope through which cities can become sustainable.
This time the main purpose of U20 is to create a balance between the economic prosperity and environmental impact of big cities. On the one hand, when urban areas around the world are facing many problems in terms of climate change, environmental degradation, natural calamities, socio economic inequality, water crisis or chaotic growth, all big cities should be united and policies should be prepared so that cities can progress with certain solutions and all can progress with the help of each other. Such a pure purpose has been set for this summit, and hence, the theme of the 6th cycle of U20 is ‘One Earth’ ‘One family’ ‘One Future’ . Also, six issues will be specially focused and prioritized.
If we look at those six points, the first point is to anchor environmentally responsible behavior. This issue will discuss how to promote some issues that have been identified in previous summits or decided by the UN Environment. Promoting topics like circular economy, low carbon mobility, green energy, water conservation, increasing urban green cover, and urban farming is essential, especially for today’s urban areas. For all these areas, individuals, institutions, governments, or organizations will have to determine a specific framework and global agenda and bring concrete parameters as a framework.
The most important issue here is water management. Drinking water is becoming a pressing issue in every urban area. And so is also draughts, water logging, and urban flooding becoming major issues. Efforts to mainstream sustainable urban water management practices. Also, priority has been given to determine the institutional and regulatory framework for maintaining proper water ecosystems.
The third focus of the U20 will be on climate finance. Cities play a vital role in reducing the use of greenhouse gases or targeting any other climate change problem. At such a time cities will have to quickly adopt environment friendly technologies, and they will have to completely abandon the traditional methods that emit carbon. But getting proper financial support is very important for this. Otherwise, cities will not adopt new methods quickly. For this, a roadmap of how to create a global funding facility for institutions or governments will be decided. Also, there will be more focus on the cities of developing nations and dedicated facilities or schemes will be prepared for them.
Apart from this, one of the issues of this summit is to promote local identity. This issue has come to light all over the world, specially because of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he gave the slogan ‘Vocal for Local’ in the corona epidemic. Based on this formula, priority has been given to local socio-cultural affairs, local economic system and heritage in urban development. In this summit, special attention will be given to ‘Urban Governance and Planning’ as the fifth issue. The way blind and hasty urbanization is happening all over the world is a matter of concern. Because this urbanization is happening without norms, it is becoming a major cause of climate change problems.
At that time, there will be a discussion on 360 degree governance planning for urban growth and this will also cover the issues of disaster management, green energy and circular economy. And the sixth issue of this summit is Digital Urban Future, in which a roadmap will be decided on how to properly pursue urban living and digitalization in every sector and what efforts to give for it. Looking at the issues presented this year, it seems that India has got a very important and commendable responsibility this time.
All these issues are problems of the whole world. And the whole world needs to tie these issues together. Ultimately, the battle against climate change is so difficult that it requires united strength and defense. We will never be able to defeat climate change if everyone goes out individually with their own swords. That is why we all have to give efforts in the same direction and save the only planet, Mother Earth, that we have, according to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
(The author is a known Environmentalist and the pioneer of Satyagraha Against Pollution movement, [email protected] )
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