Gurugram, October 8, 2021: The role of smart and sustainable urbanisation in improving people’s quality of life was discussed by Indian and European experts and officials with students of the School of Art and Architecture, Sushant University, Gurugram, as part of an outreach activity, ‘EU Day’, organised by the EU Delegation here on 08 October. The event brought together relevant stakeholders to discuss ‘Sustainable Urbanisation – Resilience and Climate Action in Cities.’
The discussions of the event highlighted the EU-India partnership including policy dialogues, smart and sustainable urbanisation, collaborative initiatives between different stakeholders, and the role of innovation. The EU-India Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation promotes investments in sustainable urbanization, climate action and disaster risk reduction. It also deals with very practical challenges such as effective solid waste management, developing effective water supply & sewage system and innovation in housing.
With sustainability as a backdrop, the event also emphasised architecture’s role in making cities resilient. Cities can play a key role in mitigating and adapting to climate change crisis with the urban local bodies leading this action.
The EU Day was organized as part of EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks initiative, which is being held until end of October, with the EU Delegation and embassies of EU Member States hosting events and initiatives to foster dialogue and cooperation on climate change, showcase success stories and inspire further action.
The virtual event included a keynote address by Mr. Seppo Nurmi, Chargé d'Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to India. This was followed by two moderated panel discussions which focused on urban and sustainable cities, climate adaption and blue-green development. The panel included expert practitioners and academics, who shared their research and findings on the changing climate and urban cities.
To achieve the global objectives in fighting climate change and biodiversity loss an active partnership between the EU and India is essential. The EU’s partnership with India on Smart and Sustainable Urbanization is important in this regard. Elaborating on the role that the cities can play in arresting climate crisis, Mr. Nurmi, said, “Cities are responsible for 70 percent of global CO2 emissions with transport, buildings, energy, and waste management accounting for the urban greenhouse gas emissions. Given the existential nature of the climate crisis facing us, it is all the more critical to work together to transition to a sustainable, carbon-neutral, inclusive cities.” “We are working with India towards a climate-resilient cities under the EU funded Project - Global Covenant of Mayors . 22 cities in India are already on board for this project,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr D.N.S. Kumar, Vice Chancellor, Sushant University, said, “Educational institutions can make their youth conscious of the challenges and opportunities of the current global issues. This will enhance their role in decision-making towards building a sustainable nation. Towards this goal, Sushant University is proud to partner with the EU under its EU Public Diplomacy Project to create awareness about global challenges, their education initiatives, and EU India strategic partnership.”
Dr Vibhuti Sachdev, Dean, School of Art and Architecture, Sushant University, said, “In order to address pressing issues of climate change and urbanization, it is time for the youth of the world to join hands and lead the way. The EU and India can play a major role in facilitating this by providing a platform for the meaningful exchange of knowledge and resources.”
Some of the other speakers of the event included, Ms Kamilla Kristensen Rai, Counsellor, EU Delegation to India; Ms Ditte Boel Bunk, Project Manager, Municipality of Aarhus, Denmark; Mr Vishal Shah, Founder Partner, Aangan Architects & Urban Initiatives, Surat, amongst others. The CDA/ Deputy Head of Mission of the European Union to India, EU Commission, subject matter experts at the EU Delegation, also addressed the gathering.
The audience comprised of students, academics, researchers, beneficiaries of EU higher education initiatives, Erasmus+ alumni, amongst others, who were made aware of EU’s structure, and policies affecting global challenges, EU-India’s strategic partnership, their policy dialogues, sectoral cooperation, and EU’s higher education initiatives.
The event concluded with a photo essay competition conducted by School of Art and Architecture of Sushant University. The winners are Tavleen Kaur, Dilmeet Singh, and Ishaan Budhiraja, M Arch students at the School of Art and Architecture. The theme of the photo essay was resilience of urban cityscapes and infrastructure. The competition aims to foster skills of adaptability and resilience seeking inspiration from built forms, environment, and people.