Today, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, together with India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), convened national and international partners to discuss mainstreaming climate action in cities, in an effort to shape G20 priorities and develop next steps for accelerating climate action in India and beyond.
The gathering was part of a series of events organised during India’s G20 Presidency under the ambit of the Urban 20 (U20), which is chaired this year by the city of Ahmedabad and supported by MoHUA, with various partner organisations. Its conclusions will inform the U20 communiqué of recommendations, which will be presented to G20 negotiators later this year.
Participants agreed on the urgent need for cities to accelerate climate action and receive added support from national governments and international investors to address vulnerabilities due to increasing heat and rainfall. City governments should consider climate impacts when making budgeting decisions, while leveraging public-private partnerships, municipal green bonds and other innovative financing mechanisms where available. Climate action plans should address water security and resilience; institutional and regulatory reforms should be considered where needed to protect and revitalise vulnerable water resources, mainstream integrated urban water resource management, ensure equitable and safe access to water and reduce risk from water-related hazards like flooding.
The event in Bangalore facilitated cross-sector learning and strengthened city-to-city engagement on three of the six current U20 priority areas: accelerating climate finance, ensuring water security, and encouraging environmentally responsive behaviour. Around 135 people attended in person, in addition to participants joining virtually, including city officials from across the country and region as well as experts, funders and partners.
Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Smart Cities Mission Director of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, said: “To create sustainable cities, innovative and inclusive city design is crucial. Without it, behaviour nudges and policy changes would not work. Let’s tweak policies, implement congestion pricing, and give incentives for sustainable living. We must also broaden the agenda and create neighborhoods where people can step out and enjoy the city. Telangana’s cool roof policy is a great example. Let’s demystify climate finance for a better future.”
Abhay Thakur, G20 Sous Sherpa, said: “Sustainable urbanisation is key to meeting sustainable development goals and global climate targets. Let’s work towards creating resilient cities for a better future.” He spoke about the importance of creating a sense of place through highlighting the cultural and local identity of Indian cities also stating that the G20 is aiming to hold diverse events to showcase the strength and unique culture of these cities.
Shruti Narayan, C40 Regional Director for South and West Asia, said: “Cities across India and the world are stepping up as climate leaders, but they continue to face daunting capacity constraints as they pursue urgently needed climate action. That’s why city voices are so vital on the national and international stage. This week’s gathering in Bangalore serves as a clarion call for leaders around the world – from the local to the national level, G20 and beyond – to make our climate a priority.”
Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Karnataka, said: “Bengaluru is leading the way in sustainable urban infrastructure, with a strong focus on public transport, solid waste management, and citizen engagement. Role of civil society is crucial for collaborative and cohesive solutions.”