Cities4Forests is a movement conceptualised to catalyse political, social, and economic support among city governments and urban citizens to integrate the inner, nearby, and faraway forests into city development plans and programs. Cities4Forest helps cities from around the world connect with and invest in forests. The project is initiated by a consortium of international agencies like World Resource Institute (WRI), Pilot Projects and REVOLVE with the involvement of mayors’ offices and supported by other sub-national agencies from around the world. The project will be implemented 45 cities from across the world for the project which aims at incorporating forests into the urban strategy to address climate change issues. Kochi is the only city selected from India on the list.
The Initiative was launched on 7th August 2019, in Kochi. The launch witnessed stakeholders from various walks of life – City Administration, engineers, city planners, conservationist, civil society, educational and research institutions come together in a bid to use the platform of Cities4Forests to leverage green infrastructure of the city to improve resilience. Participants shared an aspiration to help reduce deforestation, restore forests (including more trees in cities), and manage forests more sustainably. The goal of the project is to amplify current best practices and extend the deliberate city-forest relationship to the global scale on which cities and forests interact. On behalf of Kochi Municipal Corporation, the Centre for Heritage Environment and Development (c-hed) supported the organization of the event.
Funded by the European Union, the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme activities will support the achievement of bilateral policy objectives as well as major international agreements on urban development and climate change, such as the Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement. The IUC programme will engage with major international financial institutions and partners to link city decision-makers with potential funders.
Target countries include China, India, Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. For component 2, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region are included in the programme.
EU cities are paired up with peers from other regions facing related sustainable development challenges. Chosen cities will be supported to share knowledge and best practices on sustainable urban solutions. This will be achieved partly through the development of local action plans, which will outline activities and pilot projects to achieve tangible results. A knowledge-exchange platform has been established with resources and best practices on overcoming specific urban development barriers.
In this regard, the city of Kochi , one amongst the 12 cities selected from India in the project, has been paired with the city of Vilnius, Lithuania. The first visit of the delegates from Kochi to Vilnius has completed. The team of officials from Vilnius, will visit the city of Kochi in the month of January, after which the areas of cooperation will be finalized.
The Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development is the nodal agency for the project in Kochi.
The Urban Pathways project helps delivering on the Paris Agreement and the NDCs in the context of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. It has established a facility in close cooperation with other organisations and networks active in this area to support national and local governments to develop action plans and concrete implementation measures to boost low-carbon urban development. This builds on UN-Habitat’s role as “a focal point on sustainable urbanisation and human settlements including in the implementation and follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda”. The project develops national action plans and local implementation concepts in key emerging economies with a high mitigation potential. The local implementation concepts are being developed into bankable projects, focusing on the access to urban basic services to create a direct link between climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals.
URBAN PATHWAYS PROJECT CONCEPT – The project follows a structured approach to boost Low Carbon Plans for urban mobility, energy and waste management services that deliver on the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda. The project works on concrete steps towards a maximum impact with regards to the contribution of urban basic services (mobility, energy and waste management) in cities to global climate change mitigation efforts and sustainable and inclusive urban development. This project makes an active contribution to achieve global climate change targets to a 1.5°C stabilisation pathway by unlocking the global emission reduction potential of urban energy, transport and resource sectors. The project will contribute to a direct emission reduction in the pilot and outreach countries, which will trigger a longer term emission reduction with the aim to replicate this regionally and globally to make a substantial contribution to the overall emission reduction potential.
PROJECT AIMS – This project implements integrated urban services solutions as proposed in the New Urban Agenda, providing access to jobs and public services in urban areas, contributing to equality and social coherence and deliver on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is the first dedicated implementation action oriented project, led by UN-Habitat to deliver on inclusive, low-carbon urban services. Securing sustainability and multiplier effect, the project aims to leverage domestic and international funding for the implementation projects that will follow from this initiative.
The city of Kochi is the only city from India selected for this project. The Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development has been coordinating the project and is the nodal agency for the same. In this regard a consultative meeting was convened by the Kochi Municipal Corporation to discuss feasible interventions on urban basic services focusing on the city’s public transport system, urban energy and waste management. Target participants for the workshop were representatives from Municipal Departments relating to Natural Resources and Environment, Transport, Energy, Waste Management, Urban Planning and Investment, relevant institutions, NGOs and international organizations.
Fort Kochi is known as the cradle of Eurasian culture. It has a history of more than 500 years with an influence of both Indian and international cultures. Its vibrant history and culture makes it one of India’s major tourist hotspot. It has also been included under Kochi Smart City Project.
WRI India in collaboration with Kochi Municipal Corporation ,Cochin Smart Mission Limited and the Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development is developing a framework for inclusive development of Fort Kochi. The plan aims to develop strategies for interconnectivity, walkability and accessible public spaces, and also focus on integrating multiple modes of transit.
In this regard, WRI organized a stakeholder consultation workshop to better understand the aspirations of the resident communities in Fort Kochi, map ongoing initiatives in the realm of public spaces and plan a roadmap for the sustainable development of the area. The main objective of the workshop was to engage stakeholders and representatives of the Fort Kochi area to idealize a vision and discuss opportunities that can be leveraged to make public spaces economically vibrant, socially inclusive and spatially interconnected. It will also focus on methods to provide safe and secure connectivity to multiple modes of transport.
The Kochi Municipal Corporation (KMC) had, in its Annual Budget 2018-19, announced a rather innovative project “Zero Carbon Buildings” , which it intends to implement by associating with World Resources Institute India (WRI India) to develop a roadmap and action plan for all buildings to achieve zero carbon potential for Kochi city. Kochi is both a solar city and smart city and therefore has a unique opportunity to initiate transition to ZCBs. Depending on the development path of Kochi, the vision of its planning agencies and development authorities, a roadmap for ZCBs will respond to local climate, building stock, markets and institutional capacities and the needs of its people. Priority actions to realize the ZCB vision and goals could include implementing enabling policies and regulations (e.g. mandates for buildings energy performance disclosure), adoption of technologies and design strategies (e.g. mandating application of passive design principles), incentives and financing mechanisms (e.g. risk mitigation instruments for ZCB projects) for creating viable markets for achieving zero carbon for the building stock of the city.
In this regard a kickoff workshop was organized on June 7th to initiate the road map development process for Kochi. The objectives of this workshop were:
- Communicate Kochi Municipal Corporation’s commitment towards achieving transition of all new buildings to ZCBs for Kochi city.
- Identify and engage a diverse set of stakeholders who are important in the preparation of the ZCB roadmap.
- Identify ZCB scope and definition and priority building typologies for the roadmap.
- Discuss project tasks, activities and timelines.
- Assess data availability and needs for development and implementation of roadmap actions.
- Establish a shared body of knowledge among stakeholders with different levels of technical expertise.
- Identify partners who are interested in assisting the city achieve ZCB vision.
The project is ongoing and is coordinated by c-hed for the city.
The Subhash Bose Park sandwiched between Park Avenue and the Ernakulam backwaters and facing the harbour is the most scenic and tranquil public space in the city. As the city chokes with ever-growing traffic and congested living conditions, this park has become the green lung and breathing space for the citizens of Kochi. It is a welcoming public green where the people of Kochi come with their families and children and spend time away from their daily grind. The Subhash Chandra Bose Park was given a major changeover in tune with the changing times and demands of the people of the City.
The Centre for Heritage, Environment and Development (c-hed) has been assigned the management and maintenance of the park by the Council of the Kochi Municipal Corporation. A major major maintenance and management plan was worked out by c-hed to protect the ecological integrity of the park . The project is ongoing.
Restoration of Sculptures in Subhash Bose Park
Around the Southern quarter of the park are several stunning sculptures and installations that were in a state of neglect. These had a glorious story of its own. These are the works of 14 eminent artists who converged to participate in the first International Symposium of Sculptors (Sculptors Camp) held in the Park in 1990 jointly by the Kalapeedom and the Kochi Municipal Corporation. Of the fourteen, seven were from different countries of the world and seven were from India. Symposium of Sculptors was coordinated by Hiroshi Mikami, the renowned Japanese sculptor along with T. Kaladharan, Director of Kerala Kalapeedom with support from the Kochi Municipal Corporation.
In order to restore these marvelous sculptures in the park, a major restoration plan was prepared by c-hed along with their future care, protection and maintenance to merge with the ambience. In this regard , a Sculpture restoration camp was held from 23rd January , 2018 to 4th February 2018.The mini art camp organised saw the participation of related artists who restored their works that were damaged and also made presentation of the works and interacted with the public. A hand book of these sculptures is also under preparation as part of the restoration work.