“Many of our Acts and regulations are antiquated, we should rewrite them. What we need are modern laws and collaborative individuals who can work with the system. Only then can we build sustainable cities,” said S. K. Joshi, Principal Secretary of Telangana state.

Joshi said, while cities in India had a plethora of plans, they singularly lacked vision and had failed to take into account ground realities such as slums and poverty. He was speaking at the one-day IIMB-GIZ International Workshop on ‘Inclusive Sustainable Cities’. The workshop was conducted by IIM Bangalore.

Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change joined the conference on video from New Delhi. Citing the example of Paryavaran Bhawan, the headquarter of his ministry in New Delhi, Javadekar said he hoped to see more people and businesses adopting green technology.

“There is a need to develop and scale innovative solutions while tackling challenges be it climate change, migration or poverty,” said Sushil Vachani, Director, IIM Bangalore. Drawing from his experience while co-editing a book on adaptation to climate change, Vachani said, “While I was heartened by the progress made by many countries, I was also struck by the amount of the work that needs to be done.”

South Korea, he explained, stood out for its use of technology in warning of potential disasters such as floods. Singapore, he said, has made great strides in planning to tackle urban flash floods and devising ways to conserve water. “All these countries are involving civil society in addressing inclusiveness. Hong Kong too learnt from its unfortunate experience with swine flu and has developed coordination between its numerous agencies. China has developed strategies that other countries can learn from. Innovative scalable solutions are the key to create a more inclusive society,” Vachani emphasised.

The workshop surveyed ongoing research on sustainability and inclusivity in the context of the cities in developed and emerging countries. It also sought to provide cross-continental perspectives in managing natural resources.

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