With half of the world’s population already living in cities, India has said sustainable urbanisation is not only a developing countries’ issue and urban settlements in developed nations should also adopt sustainable consumption and production patterns.
“Our approach must also be inclusive and broad enough to be of value to the challenges of creating and managing
sustainable cities in both developing and developed countries,” Counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Amit Narang said at the UN Habitat conference on Wednesday.
He stressed that “sustainable urbanisation is by no means a developing country issue.”
Existing and old urban settlements in developed countries have an equally important role to play through specific deliverables, especially by adopting and showcasing sustainable consumption and production patterns.
“The foremost challenge in developing countries on the other hand, which are experiencing rapid urbanisation at very low per capita income levels, is to create functioning cities that are able to provide to their urban citizens affordable access to better and adequate public services and job opportunities,” Narang said.
He said the approach of the international community in Habitat-III, the third UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development scheduled to be held in Ecuador in October this year, must also avoid being over-prescriptive.
“The assessment and recommendations need to be tailored to suit specific situations and yet broad enough to encapsulate the policy challenges in different parts of the world,” he said.
Narang added that India was of the view that investments in cities and urban development must focus on multiple results simultaneously along several streams such as housing, basic infrastructure, sanitation, education, sustainable production and consumption, employment and public transportation.
“In countries like mine, the foremost need is for enhanced investments in infrastructure, such as roads, water, sanitation, electricity, housing and basic services such as public transportation, schools and affordable health care,” Narang said.
According to the first ‘World Cities Report 2016 – Urbanisation and Development: Emerging Futures’ report by UN Habitat launched on Wednesday, India is projected to add 300 million new urban residents by 2050.
It will need to build low-energy and low-infrastructure cities to address the challenge of accommodating the needs of
these populations through planned city extensions.
The report said that in India, urban areas already contribute more than 60 per cent of GDP and an extra 300 million new urban residents are projected by 2050, leading to a call by the Indian government to build 100 new cities over the period.