India, France and the European Union have joined hands as part of a global sustainable development project, which will seek to transform three major Indian cities by improving urban mobility and cutting down carbon footprint. India’s Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and French Development Agency (AFD), on Friday, signed a Grant Facility Agreement of 3.5 million euros, to be financed by the European Union under its Asia Investment Facility (AIF), for implementing the ‘MobiliseYourCity’ initiative.
The three cities that will benefit from the project are — Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad. MobiliseYourCity (MYC) is part of an international initiative supported by the French and the German governments. It was launched at Paris’ 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in December 2015.
The project seeks to back 100 cities worldwide by 2020, which are engaged in sustainable urban mobility planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The EU grant component will ensure the sustainability of infrastructure investments by the Agence Francaise du Development (AFD). Our funding will support strategic planning, capacity building, and the design of monitoring mechanisms.
“It will contribute to the Indian agenda on urban transport and climate change also by attracting the Indian industries, engineering companies and private finance institutions to invest on transport infrastructure,” Ambassador of the European Union to India Tomasz Kozlowski said at a signing function in New Delhi.
DEA’s Joint Secretary Selvakumar, Head of Asia Department at AFD Headquarters in Paris, Pascal Pacaut, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the French Embassy here, Claire Thuaudet were also present on the occasion.
“I am thrilled that India is one of the very first countries to benefit from the MYC initiative. France and India share a vibrant commitment to fight against climate change, and the implementation of Paris Agreement, as it was strongly reaffirmed by President Macron and Prime Minister Modi during their meeting in Paris on June 3,” Thuaudet said.
AFD’s Country Director in India, Nicolas Fornage said the “outcome and efficacy” of the project would be monitored “over a period of three years”.
The initiative will be implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development. The AFD will be monitoring it and ensuring compliance with AFD’s and EU’s due diligence.
“The project essentially seeks to bring transformational changes towards a less carbon intensive development path in the urban mobility sector.
“For these three cities — Nagpur, Kochi and Ahmedabad, the project’s focus areas would be to improve comprehensive mobility plans; adopt a measure-report-verify methodology to follow-up on the multiple benefits,” he said.
The expected benefits of MYC include reduced carbon emissions, diminished traffic congestion, better air quality, more inclusive and livable cities, and improved economic competitiveness.
“AFD has already partnered with India on other urban projects, by contributing funds to the phases I and II of both Bangalore and Kochi metro projects, and for the construction of a metro line in Nagpur,” the AFD said.
Kozlowski said, “Our (EU) engagement with India is on a much broader level, with several of the flagships programmes run by the government from Smart City to solid waste management and water management, and this partnership for this MYC project is towards enhancing that engagement.”