knowledge is power
knowledge is power, but not until shared!
Although cities occupy just 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, their inhabitants use 75% of the planet’s natural resources. Cities draw on their surrounding ecosystems for goods and services, and their products and emissions can affect regional and even global ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems and biological diversity are vital for cities to function properly. Ecosystems provide three main kinds of services to the city: provisioning of food, fibre and fuels; regulating through purification, detoxification and mitigation of droughts and floods; and enriching the spiritual, aesthetic and social life of urban dwellers. Biodiversity – the diversity among living organisms – plays an essential role in ensuring the survival of life on earth. Clean water, foodstuffs, medicines and quality of life are just a few of the services which biodiversity offers to cities. Recognizing the importance of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems for their survival, cities today undertake many initiatives to utilize and conserve their surroundings efficiently. These actions can reach far beyond the boundaries of the city, affecting biodiversity on a global scale.
Aichi Biodiversity Targets
The Parties (Countries) under Convention of Biodiversity (CBD), meet at regular interval. These meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).10th such meeting was held at Aichi precinct (district) of Nagoya, Japan. This COP-10 gave birth to two things
1. Nagoya Protocol on Genetic Resources
2. Aichi Targets for biodiversity
In the COP-10 meeting, the parties agreed that previous biodiversity protection targets are not achieved, So we need to do comeup with new plans and targets.
This short term plan is officially known as “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”. It is a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity. This short term plan provide a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets.
Aichi Biodiversity Targets
• Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
• Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
• Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
• Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
• Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building
UN Sustainable Millennium Goals
On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.
What is Smart City
The first question is what is meant by a ‘smart city’. The answer is, there is no universally accepted definition of a smart city. It means different things to different people. The conceptualisation of Smart City, therefore, varies from city to city and country to country, depending on the level of development, willingness to change and reform, resources and aspirations of the city residents. A smart city would have a different connotation in India than, say, Europe. Even in India, there is no one way of defining a smart city.
Some definitional boundaries are required to guide cities in the Mission. In the imagination of any city dweller in India, the picture of a smart city contains a wish list of infrastructure and services that describes his or her level of aspiration. To provide for the aspirations and needs of the citizens, urban planners ideally aim at developing the entire urban eco-system, which is represented by the four pillars of comprehensive development-institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructure. This can be a long term goal and cities can work towards developing such comprehensive infrastructure incrementally, adding on layers of ‘smartness’.
In the approach of the Smart Cities Mission, the objective is to promote cities that provide core infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and application of ‘Smart’ Solutions. The focus is on sustainable and inclusive development and the idea is to look at compact areas, create a replicable model which will act like a light house to other aspiring cities. The Smart Cities Mission of the Government is a bold, new initiative. It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country. The core infrastructure elements in a smart city would include: i. adequate water supply, ii. assured electricity supply, iii. sanitation, including solid waste management, iv. efficient urban mobility and public transport, v. affordable housing, especially for the poor, vi. robust IT connectivity and digitalization, vii. good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation, viii. sustainable environment, ix. safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly, and x. health and education. As far as Smart Solutions are concerned, an illustrative list is given below. This is not, however, an exhaustive list, and cities are free to add more applications.
Accordingly, the purpose of the Smart Cities Mission is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology, especially technology that leads to Smart outcomes. Areabased development will transform existing areas (retrofit and redevelop), including slums, into better planned ones, thereby improving liveability of the whole City. New areas (greenfield) will be developed around cities in order to accommodate the expanding population in urban areas. Application of Smart Solutions will enable cities to use technology, information and data to improve infrastructure and services. Comprehensive development in this way will improve quality of life, create employment and enhance incomes for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged, leading to inclusive Cities.
Do you want to get involved? You can start by telling everyone about them. We’ve also put together a list of actions that you can take in your everyday life to contribute to a sustainable future.
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