NITI Aayog organizes South Asian Regional Conference on Urban Infrastructure

NITI Aayog, the premier think tank of the Government of India, partnered with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to host a South Asian regional conference at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in the capital today to discuss the key issues, perspectives and the way forward in the Urban Infrastructure.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs), Shri Hardeep Singh Puri addressed the closing session on Day One of the Conference and received the rapporteurs’ presentations, summarising best practices related to new approaches to PPP & Municipal Financing.

Considering the quantum deficit in infrastructure implementation today vis-à-vis the demand, it is extremely imperative to focus on newer means of implementing and financing urban infrastructure. In India alone, until 2040, estimated investments of around $4.5 trillion are required in the infrastructure space. With respect to urban needs, the population in South Asia is expected to grow by around 250 million till 2030, while that in India is expected to reach around 590 million during the same period.

There are an estimated 98 million people who reside in the slums of Indian cities and are disproportionately deprived of access to basic services and infrastructure. These gaps must be addressed so that the cities grow equitably and in an environmentally responsible way.

The South Asian regional conference is a first of its kind, with participation from across the South Asian region including leaders from the government, industry, research organizations, academia, think tanks and civil society. The Conference aims to review overall issues and assess the sustainability of PPPs and urban finance in South Asia, specifically India, while broadening the knowledge base and engaging on international best practices. Components of the Conference include keynote and breakout sessions, panel discussions, presentation and a variety of stakeholder consultations.

Countries need to explore innovative models to implement infrastructure projects. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been one such option that enables governments to optimally share the risks associated with a project’s lifecycle. However, for making government procurement more dynamic, it is imperative to focus on wider options. Furthermore, to implement urban infrastructure in India, a deeper deliberation is required on the means of democratizing the governance at the city level with a view towards providing greater operational and fiscal autonomy to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). These challenges and the emerging opportunities necessitate focusing on the institutional environment to improve the delivery of sustainable urban infrastructure and services and evaluating alternatives for long-term, predictable financing.

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World Cities Summit 2018 kicks off in Singapore

The 6th edition of the biennial World Cities Summit, the leading global platform to drive and connect innovators in sustainable integrated urban solutions, kicked off in Singapore

The summit will be held together with the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore at the same venue from Sunday to Thursday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The three events will provide a unique integrated global platform to drive integrated urban solutions, connect global business experts, policy-makers, industry leaders and innovators through strategic collaborative efforts and cutting-edge technologies.

According to a press release from the organizer, the co-located events bring together over 20,000 attendees and a record number of mayors from over 100 cities around the world to drive future-forward solutions.

The formal opening ceremony for the three events will be launched on Monday.

The World Cities Summit this year goes beyond the themes of urban governance and liveable cities, to embracing the future of cities through technology, innovation, and collaboration.

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Regional 3R Forum

The Eighth Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific is being held in Indore. The event will see the participation of around 40 mayors of cities around the world and mayors of more than 100 cities across India.

The 8th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific is co-organized by the Ministry of Housing and Affairs, Government of India, the Ministry of the Environment of the Government of Japan (MOEJ), and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD).

The Indore  Municipal  Corporation, Government of Madhya  Pradesh,  and Confederation of Indian  Industry  (CII) have been designated as the City Partner,  Organizing  State Partner and Industry  Partner.

Theme: “Achieving Clean Water, Clean Land and Clean Air through 3R and Resource Efficiency –  A  21st  Century Vision for Asia-Pacific  Communities”.

In 2009, the Regional 3R Forum in Asia was established at Japan’s proposal as a platform for broad cooperation on the promotion of the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – in Asia. After the fourth forum, the name was changed to Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific.

Members include central governments, international agencies, aid agencies, private sector entities, research bodies, NGOs and other relevant parties.

Forum members hold discussions on policies, provided support for the implementation of 3R projects in member countries, shared useful information, and are building networks for the further promotion of 3R initiatives.

Japan hosted the inaugural Regional 3R Forum in Tokyo in 2009 and has cosponsored subsequent Forums together with the governments of host countries and the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD).

The Fourth Regional 3R Forum – held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, in March 2013 – adopted the Ha Noi 3R Declaration ‐ Sustainable 3R Goals for Asia and the Pacific for 2013‐2023. It is a legally non-binding and voluntary document which aims to provide a basic framework for Asia-Pacific countries to develop measures and programs to promote 3Rs including a set of 3R indicators for monitoring specific progress.

The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) was founded in 1971 as an instrument to help achieve the strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.

Created by an agreement between the UN and the Government of Japan, its operations are supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA).

UNCRD’s vision is to achieve a sustainable living environment for all. Its mission is to assist developing countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.

UNCRD’s interventions in developing countries are clustered under three main thematic interrelated and complementary areas of work – (a) Integrated Regional Development Planning; (b) Sustainable Urban Management; and (c) Knowledge Management.

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