By Prarthana Mitra
In a comprehensive step to decelerate climate change, the United Nations on Sunday officially extended their invitation to the twin Indian cities of Noida and Greater Noida to participate in the Global Sustainable Cities 2025 initiative.
Here’s what happened
The north Indian region of Noida in Uttar Pradesh is currently on course to becoming one of the 25 model cities fully compliant with the sustainable development goals within the next 7 years.
Located in Gautam Buddh Nagar district in the National Capital Region (NCR), the heavily industrial cities have beaten Mumbai and Bengaluru as the only invitees from India, according to UN reports. Listed under the University category, Noida’s participation will herald an “unprecedented inflow” of global knowledge, resources and capacity-building into the region, which is situated on the fringes of the national capital, one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Under the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) cities initiative, 25 global cities have been selected to take part in a race for sustainability, Senior UN Adviser and CEO UN Global Sustainability Index Institute (UNGSII) Roland Schatz told reporters, after handing over the formal invitation to Gautam Buddh Nagar District Magistrate (DM) Brajesh Narain Singh.
Putting Noida on the map
Awaiting the state government’s approval, Singh told the Economic Times that the city, which houses lakhs of students, could benefit largely from participation in the project. “We are about 600 government schools at primary level, 139 schools which are affiliated with CBSE, eight universities with more than 50,000 students[. T]hey need direction and to be linked with what is happening elsewhere in the world,” he said hoping for an overall growth. He further added, “This is a proud moment for Noida and Greater Noida to be selected for this exciting global showcase.”
Noida will primarily work closely with other university cities such as Cambridge, Palo Alto, Espoo, and Heidelberg to create Sustainability and Research Hubs. Various UN agencies, partners, and corporate supporters will contribute to developing the 25 cities sustainably.
Among other benefits, the official invitation promises “multi-million US dollars finance and implementation know-how for each of the 17 SDGs along the defined KPIs (key performance indicators)”. Data-based evaluation systems like those used in UN’s smart cities programme will monitor progress and performance in terms of gender equality, water and energy requirements, every three months.
About the SDG programme
Envisioned as a stepping stone for Sustainable Development Goal 2030, the UN General Assembly in 2015 adopted the Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Global Goals, issuing a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 25 cities will act as role models for those to follow by the close of 2030.
When asked about the selection process, Schatz said that Noida has the basic infrastructure and the potential to become an “important” city of future with the global expertise, knowledge, and resources that UN’s programme brings.
“We need to get Noida on the map not only in India but all over the world because if the United Nations is managing together every person on the planet to reach these so called SDG by 2030, we need to understand and learn from each other,” he added.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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