UN promises support to Noida, Greater Noida after joining sustainable cities initiative
Accepting the invitation to the Global Sustainable Cities 2025 initiative would get Noida and Greater Noida funds and inflow of global knowledge, resources and capacity-building through various UN agencies and partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, a senior UN official said Monday.
The twin-cities in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar, adjoining Delhi, were Sunday invited by the Global Sustainability Index Institute (UNGSII) to become a member of the initiative.
The district administration will now forward the invite to the state government for consideration.
The 17 SDGs, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
The UNGSII Foundation was created to assist and accelerate the implementation process.
In September 2015, 193 heads of state, including India, had pledged their commitment to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations.
Signing a contract will enable Noida-Greater Noida to get "multi-million dollar finance and implementation know-how for each of the 17 SDGs along the defined KPIs (key performance indicators)," among others from the UNGSII Foundation, according to the official communication.
"So, what we are now offering to cities is to sit down with the mayor's team and find out what is the need for Noida linked with which is a price tag. Then we make sure if it needs zero-emission buses or better health system or experts to find out what they want, what helps Noida for not only five years but the next 15 years and do they get the funding to make that happen," Senior UN Advisor and CEO of UNGSII SDG Cities initiative Roland Schatz said here.
"So, we are not coming on day one to say here is an amount X and that will make you happy. What we do is we listen very loud and we bring all your people together and the promise that is the money is needed because we started this fund. There are also other things which we bring in immediately. We have never done that before but we are optimistic to deliver on that promise," he told PTI.
Shcatz said the Noida administration would be required to shell out 100,000 Euros every year till 2025 as administrative support to the initiative which is to ensure "seriousness" from participant cities in return of funds and resources for working towards achieving SDGs.
He said the funds by his organisation would be given to a city depending on its needs and conditions.
"Mexico city, for example, requires 500 zero-emission buses which cost 340,000 each. They get it for free after spending 100,000 Euros a year," he said, citing an example of how resources could be mobilised under the initiative.
Noida-Greater Noida have been chosen under the 'University City' category of the initiative along with cities such as Cambridge (UK), Palo Alto (US), Hiedelberg (Germany), Espoo (Finland).
The twin-cities have eight universities, over 600 primary government schools, 139 public schools affiliated to CBSE with a collective student strength running into lakhs.
Shcatz said there will not be direct comparisons between Noida and Heidelberg in Germany, as every country is different and seven years down the line the main objective would be knowing what the people of Noida think of the change over a period of time.
"Do they see homeless, do they know about the people who fall in the category of poor, are they aware of anybody in their families of community who need a surgery but could not get that. This is what we will do. We will ask the citizens of Noida every three months, starting in 2019.
"The first two years I don't believe the results because people are not really honest in polling and all that stuff. But when they see I keep my promise, they will keep their promise. Their answers will get more and more reliable by 2021," he said. PTI KIS KJ
(With inputs from agencies.)