On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2021, the Kochi Municipal Corporation is launching the ‘Kochi Eco Challenge’ (Kochi Eco System Challenge) project in collaboration with District Haritha Keralam Mission and Suchitwa Mission under the leadership of St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulam and C-HED, the Environmental Division of the Kochi Municipal Corporation.
The ‘Kochi Eco Challenge’ is envisioned as a project that aims at the preparation and submission of a scientific plan to identify and document various ecosystem issues within the limits of the Kochi Municipal Corporation and to formulate practical feasible strategies/ follow-up plans for its restoration and conservation. The ‘Kochi Eco Challenge’ project is conceived in line with the theme ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ set forth by the United Nations in connection with the Environment Day 2021.
All educational institutions and student teams under the jurisdiction of the Kochi Municipal Corporation can participate in this challenge. Cash awards will be awarded for the best and most practical proposals selected from the competition entries. School / college level entries will be considered as a separate category. Selected projects will be included in the annual budget of the Kochi Municipal Corporation and implemented. Proposals must be submitted by September 1, 2021.
The guideline document for the project is given below :
The Kochi Eco Challenge was launched in a virtual ceremony on 4 June 2021 by Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi Adv. M Anil Kumar. Eminent actors Sri. Indrajith Sukumaran and Smt. Poornima Indrajith will be the brand ambassadors of the Kochi Eco Challenge project and they were the chief guests on the occasion.The Deputy Mayor Ms. Ansiya, Chairpersons of the Standing Committee Chairs, District Educational officer, Ernakulam, AEOs, officials from the Haritha Keralam Mission, the Suchitwa Mission and distinguished academicians from St. Teresa’s , Maharaja’s and Sacred Heart Colleges spoke on the occasion. The Director of C-HED provided details of the challenge guidelines.
The challenge is open to students of all educational institutions in the jurisdiction of the Kochi Municipal Corporation.
An emergency service to cater to the needs of COVID patients, especially transport of COVID patients to hospitals, supply of medicines, oximeter, oxygen cylinder and thermometer and to patients houses, etc kick started yesterday in the city. Covid relief works have been on the radar for Kochi municipal corporation and C-HED has been providing backend support for the operations. The” Auto Ambulance ” service is initiated jointly by the Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Ernakulam Jilla Autorickshaw Drivers Cooperative Society Ltd. (EJADCS), supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is funded by the ‘SMART-SUT’ project, which is under the Green Urban Mobility Partnership between India and Germany. This initiative is coordinated and supported by the National Health Mission, Government of Kerala, The Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (C-HED) and Technovia Info Solutions. Pvt. Ltd. In this regard, a training program for 18 volunteering auto drivers and for supporting staff was carried out at the Ernakulam Town Hall. Safety kits (including PPE kits, masks, gloves, face shield) and medical equipment (like pulse Oximeter, infra-red thermo meter, portable oxygen cans) were also handed over to the team.
The city of Kochi is an important place of employment for migrant workers in Kerala. Workers from Tamil Nadu have been living and working in the city for decades. In addition, workers from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and many more can be found in the city today. The migrant workers in any urban centre are often forced to live in unhygienic and unsafe conditions. The case to some extent in Kochi is the same. They are often denied the access to safe and fair accommodation in the city.
In this regard, the Kochi Municipal Corporation decided to prepare and implement a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis of migrant workers in the city. With an aim to ensure that no one is left behind or homeless, the Kochi Municipal Corporation introduced ‘Rapid Response Policy Engagement – Affordable Rental Housing for Internal Migrant’ project in its annual Budget for the year 2021-22. The aim was to engage with relevant stakeholders to collectively devise a policy for ensuring access to affordable rental housing for internal migrants in Kochi. The project was spearheaded by the Kochi Municipal Corporation with the technical support of the University of Reading, United Kingdom and coordinated by the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed) in association with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID). As part of the project, a local stakeholder workshop and an online colloquium were conducted to gather suggestions from various stakeholders across the country on policy making.
In this regard, the Kochi Municipal Corporation has successfully prepared a draft policy document with the support of the technical team. The policy document was presented before the stakeholders under the aegis of the Hon’ble Mayor of Kochi on May 19, 2021. The online discussion was attended by various local and national stakeholders from across the country. Representatives from National Health Mission, Department of Town and Country Planning, GCDA, Kerala State Housing Board and GIZ also participated in the discussion.
An online workshop on ‘Explore Issues and Solutions for Solving Housing Challenges of Migrant Workers in Kochi, Kerala’ was organized as part of Rapid Response Policy Engagement project on March 16, 2021 as part of the comprehensive planning of the recommendations received from the stakeholder workshop held on March 5, 2021.
Hon’ble Mayor Adv. M Anilkumar presented the city’s vision and action plan related to the living conditions of various migrant workers in Kochi. Kerala State Planning Board member Dr. Ravi Raman spoke on issues including policy formulation to be adopted by local governments in this regard. Many experts in this field also participated in the discussion. Presentations were done by the experts in the field, Smt. Banasree Banerjee, Smt. Uma Adusmiley, Smt. Renu Desai, Dr.Binoy Peter, Dr.Angelique Chettiparambil and Mr. Rushil Palavajjhala regarding different models in India and around the world. Experts from inside and outside Kerala analysed and spoke on these models. The online workshop was coordinated by C-HED with the support of CMID and University of Reading, UK.
Kochi, one of the major urban agglomerations in the state is seriously pondering on the need for sustainable energy transition. It has been very proactively discussing and engaging with various stakeholders to identify the opportunities and challenges of clean energy projects within the city. In this regard, the urban energy transition project, the brainchild of the Hon’ble Mayor, intends to take support from relevant State Government agencies like State Planning Board (SPB), ANERT, KSEB, Energy Management Centre and other relevant institutions to identify the high-impact opportunities that can be implemented in the city to align with the state’s sustainable energy policy. The Kochi Municipal Corporation in coordination with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development and with the support of WRI India organized a stakeholder consultation workshop which was attended by the above mentioned representatives.
The City Biodiversity Index and Illustrated Natural Asset Map of Kochi Municipal Corporation, prepared under INTERACT- Bio project was released by Hon’ble Mayor Soumini Jain.
Kochi is one the very few cities in India who have developed the City Biodiversity Index. The City Biodiversity Index of Kochi has been developed with support from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia, through the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature conservation and Nuclear Safety supported Interact- Bio Project. The project is being implemented by ICLEI South Asia in collaboration with Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed).
The Summer Winter School Program of The Premier Habitat University of India , CEPT for 2019 begins in Kochi. This year the program focuses on Smart and Sustainable Urban Development – Experiences from Kochi, India and Frankfurt, Germany with more than 26 CEPT university Masters students and Town planning officials participating in the same. The week long (Dec 1-7, 2019) program will allow students to interact with key officials, policy makers and major stakeholders of the city to understand the various sustainable initiatives and urban practices in Kochi in terms of affordable housing, urban infrastructure services, urban mobility, public spaces, participatory planning and cultural heritage management. The program is being supported by the German International Development Agency (GIZ) in association with the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development.
The Subhash Bose park which is maintained by the Center for Heritage, Environment and Development is rich in biodiversity. Under the interact bio project, jointly conducted by Kochi Municipal Corporation, c-hed and ICLEI, Mapping, Identification and Naming of trees in Subhash Bose Park were done. A total of 434 trees were identified which included 61 species of 24 families of which 157 are indigenous trees and 277 are alien trees.
The tree naming ceremony and the handbook release were held in Subhash park on the 6th of February 2019. The trees were tied with boards containing their common name, scientific name and their native and the handbook containing details of the trees in the park was released by Justice (retd.) K. Sukumaran, an enthusiast in environment conservation. Mayor Soumini Jain presided over the event which was also attended by Imani Kumar, director, ICLEI- South Asia.
INTRODUCTION: The project aims to strengthen the integration of biodiversity management at all levels of governance and facilitate cooperation between national and sub-national authorities for ecosystem management in urban regions. It is funded by Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) under their International Climate Initiative (IKI). The project is in implementation in three countries- Brazil, India and Tanzania and has a duration of four years (2016 – 2020). ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia is the implementing agency project in India. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has identified Kochi as the project model city and Panaji and Mangaluru as the satellite cities.
INCEPTION ACTIVITIES IN KOCHI: The project has been approved by the Kochi Municipal Corporation council through a special council meeting held on 21st August 2017, following which an MoU between the Kochi Municipal Corporation and ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability, South Asia had been signed. The Centre for Heritage , Environment and Development has been appointed by the Council of the Kochi Municipal Corporation as the nodal office in Kochi (on behalf of the Kochi Municipal Corporation) for the project.
WORK UNDERTAKEN: The first phase of the project involved the development of baseline regarding biodiversity management within the project countries and city-regions through a scoping study. A few of the activities have been completed while some are ongoing:
Key stakeholders (persons and institutions) in and around Kochi were identified.
Discussions (one to one) were held with the identified stakeholders and officials of Kochi Municipal Corporation.
Foreign experts visited the city and held discussions with city officials, college teachers and some experts in the area.
Interviews with experts and other stakeholders (about 50 experts and 10 institutions or organisations) on different aspects of biodiversity and governance were held.
Several relevant baseline reports, maps and data were reviewed.
Preliminary mapping of mangroves and wetlands in the Greater Kochi region was done.
First stakeholder consultation workshop to discuss results of information collected through primary and secondary data sources was held on 27th October 2017; The Hon’ble mayor presided over the workshop and Dr S.C. Joshi, Chairman, Kerala State Biodiversity Board, was the Chief Guest. Over 100 stakeholders and experts participated in the workshop. Mangalavanam and back waters were identified as critical ecosystems.
Biodiversity awareness programme named “Communicating biodiversity conservation with school students in Kochi was held. Around 10 schools in Kochi participated in this initiative. The initiative programme included :-
Presentation in each school on significance of biodiversity
Biodiversity quiz in each school
Biodiversity register preparation for a school,
Butterfly park development in a school and
An inter school painting competition.
The first two programmes and the fifth programme have been completed in all school; third and fourth programmes are going on in the selected school.
An Expert stakeholder workshop on ecosystem services was held on 3rd April 2018 which had participation from international and national experts .
Trees in Subhash Park – A GIS based tree map has been prepared wherein tree species have been identified. The details of the same will be brought in the form of a hand book which is ongoing. This will help support the initiative of the Kochi Municipal Corporation on improving open green spaces.
Development of scoping report- The process is on going
Natural asset map development- ongoing (GPS field survey for GIS based high resolution natural asset map for Kochi is going on).
City Biodiversity Index
People’s Biodiversity Register
Biodiversity Park – Mangrove Park : Feasibility Study
A national workshop was held as part of the activities under the INTERACT-Bio project (German-funded urban biodiversity project) that aims at supporting selected cities in India, Brazil and Tanzania to sustainably manage biodiversity and ecosystems, and support local governments. The national workshop on ‘Guidelines for Biodiversity Conservation for Cities’ was organised by the Kochi Municipal Corporation, National Biodiversity Board, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed). The following aspects were discussed with key national, state and city government officials:
The role of cities and subnational governments can and should play in contributing to the development and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans;
Guidelines for an Integrated Approach in the Development and Implementation of National, Subnational and Local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans;
Developing a draft template for Local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans for city governments.
The workshop was attended by Nagpur Mayor Nanda Jichkar, Gangtok Mayor Shakti Singh Choudhary, Siliguri Mayor Dr Shankar Ghosh and senior officials and representatives of various municipal corporations across the country.