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Adapting to edge: Urban and coastal climate resilience - fostering collaborative alliances

By Enid Dsouza 
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) India hosted a workshop on ‘Adapting to the Edge: Urban and Coastal Climate Resilience’ as part of the Climate Action Workshop Series in New Delhi. The workshop brought together experts, practitioners, government bodies, CSR leaders to initiate dialogues on fostering nature-based solutions for a climate-resilient future.
The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build climate resilience. Through this partnership, both organisations, with their shared vision, will focus on action-based research, organising discussions, and forming coalition groups to build climate adaptation, urban habitat management, disaster risk resilience, and promote nature-based solutions and biodiversity.
In the keynote address, Mr. Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa, Government of India (former CEO, NITI Aayog) said “Coastal cities serve as critical hubs for national economic growth and host vital infrastructure which are under severe threat of climate change. Nature-based solutions must be prioritized, and we are making it a part of India’s resilience and adaptation strategy for urban and coastal regions. There is a need of disaster-proofing communities, prioritizing low carbon development and climate resilient infrastructure. Nature-based solutions have demonstrated excellent returns on investment and can be scaled up. I strongly believe that collaboration and cooperation is key to tackle climate change. We should tap into innovative financing, and we must ensure that communities have a critical role to play along with access to best practices”.
Onno Ruhl, General Manger, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (former World Bank India Director) said “India has the potential to champion climate action, leveraging its innovative and cost-effective jugaad strategy, and developing engineering solutions to achieve more while using fewer resources”.
Shruti Narayan, Regional Director of C40 Cities for South and West Asia, led a masterclass on 'Unlocking the Value of Accelerating Climate Action'. This was followed by panel discussions on two important themes: 'Nature-Based Solutions: Urban and Coastal Climate Resilience' and 'Urban Sustainability: Building Climate-Resilient Communities'. The panelists focused on strategies for community participation and integration of nature-based solutions with an emphasis on urban regions and coastal cities. The discussions emphasised the tangible benefits of such solutions, including enhanced air and water quality, as well as risk reduction from disasters such as floods, droughts, and reducing heat stress. The session on urban sustainability, emphasised the importance of sustainable building processes, energy-efficient designs, and the use of environmentally friendly materials.
Following an insightful workshop, Prerana Langa, Chief Executive Officer, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India said, “Aga Khan Agency for Habitat recognises the need to tackle the climate crisis and advocates for comprehensive actions to boost climate and urban resilience. These workshops reinforce our shared dedication to catalyse positive change, through collaboration and innovation. Guided by insightful remarks by Mr. Amitabh Kant, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat is emboldened to lead discussions and to steer communities towards a climate-resilient future.”
The inaugural session of the climate action workshop series took place in Mumbai on November 22, 2023, garnering success and praise from CSR representatives and government bodies.
About Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India
Aga Khan Agency for Habitat works to create habitats that allow communities to be resilient to disasters, adapt to climate change, and thrive. Through leveraging technical expertise in climate action, risk reduction and habitat improvement, it impacts urban and coastal resilience, nature-based solutions, water security management and school resilience. Aga Khan Agency for Habitat collaborates with institutions and organisations that share a commitment to promote a culture of preparedness, safeguard key infrastructure, ensure access to basic services, and build safe and green housing.

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