A Recap of CONNECTKaro 2016 – Advancing Ideas to Action in Indian Cities
Focusing on the theme 'Advancing Ideas to Action in Cities', CONNECTKaro 2016 was held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on 5-7 April, 2016. CONNECTKaro, the annual flagship event of WRI India Sustainable Cities, engaged over 200 people in conversation around the issues related to public transport, urban expansion, clean energy, resilience and new mobility. Dharmendra Pradhan (Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India), Meenakshi Lekhi (Member of Parliament, New Delhi), Jamshyd Godrej (Chairman, WRI India) and Melba Pria (Mexican Ambassador to India) spoke at the opening plenary on Advancing Ideas to Action in Indian Cities.
Jamshyd Godrej, Chairman, of the World Resources Institute in India, outlined the country’s commitment to the urban sustainable agenda and the need for more climate conversations since the COP21 held in Paris last year.
Highlighting some of WRI’s recent work on Smart Cities, he said, “The smart city projects are prompting cities to look at one small area and one service area to be improved over the next 5 years. The WRI cities team helped 12 cities to prepare their proposals for the Smart City Challenge and is now working with 6 of those cities to implement these plans.”
Dharmendra Pradhan, the current Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, who was also at the opening plenary of the conference, stressed the importance of solving the waste management issues in a city, including the utilization and monetization of waste. He also touched upon the need for maintaining a balance between those who do not have access to energy and those who use more than their share. “It has been the government’s priority to expand the CNG/PNG networks. By the end of may, the Delhi NCR region will be completely covered by CNG stations” said Pradhan.
Additionally, he also emphasized on WRI’s open streets work across the country, “Raahgiri is bringing about a major social change not only in cities, but also smaller towns, who now recognize the need for non-motorized transport.”
Meenakshi Lekhi, an Indian Member of the Parliament, New Delhi Constituency said, “I genuinely feel that Delhi needs to be more cyclist-friendly. We are blinded by our misinformed beliefs, which mandate that our social status is based on the car we own. What we miss out is that the ones who cycle are perhaps healthier than those who are constantly stuck in their cars.”
The Ambassador of Mexico to India, Melba Pria, compared the problem of air pollution in Delhi to that of Mexico City. She talked about the policy adopted in Mexico City, especially a citizen movement started in 1984, that stopped the use of cars once a week, which later became a government program.
“In Mexico City, when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is more than 180, children are not allowed on the streets. However, in Delhi, the AQI is as high as 900. Mexico has also implemented many more strategies like testing vehicles for carbon emissions every 6 months and promoting the use of alternative modes of transport. In Delhi too, long-term solutions like improvised parking policy and implementing BRTs can solve the problem of air pollution. Engaging the public and making them conscious of these issues is essential as more and more people start living in cities.”
Former Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams (WRI's US Climate Initiative Director) outlined the Portland Plan, aiming for a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable city.
Go through a quick review 'in tweets'. Additionally, you can browse through photos from the event, or download presentations made by our speakers and panelists. View more from our Stories at CONNECTKaro 2016 series. Sessions from CONNECTKaro 2016 can be watched here.