New Delhi: Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT-Delhi) hosted its Third Delhi Digital Conclave (DDC) with the theme of Climate Action for a Sustainable Urban Future (DDC ’21) today. The intent behind DDC is to provide a public platform to think about new technologies, sustainability and climate action to reach our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the effects of human-induced climate change are irrevocable and urgent global collective action is required. Those experiencing multiple vulnerabilities will be the most affected in the era of Anthropocene, while having contributed the least to the increase of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Climate action has been adopted as one of the SDGs. There is a need to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, with the help of new technologies and changes in policy making.
With the theme of “Climate Action for a Sustainable Urban Future”, two specific questions were raised while brainstorming climate action as a concrete policy framework for negotiating climate change:
- How to integrate climate change and social sustainability in urban planning and policymaking?
- Can digital interventions be integrated into planning the sustainable urban future?
In the inaugural session Prof. Ranjan Bose, Director IIIT-Delhi emphasized the role of technology institutions in the climate change adaptation policies.
Mr Jasmine, Vice-Chairperson, Delhi Dialogue Commission, Govt of Delhi spoke about the challenges that Delhi is facing concerning climate change and related policy formulations. Mr. Shah claimed that 70% of pollution in Delhi is due to outstation sources. He also highlighted the Delhi govt’s policies on climate policies and actions. The electric vehicle policy 2020 and the solar project are few of the interventions.
“The naivety/ignorance around politics and power that is meshed with climate change can lead us to miss how we diagnose and respond to the crisis. When transport, for example, is seen as a problem and not a social-political concern, the solutions are seen in the form of parking spaces, more roads and so on. But when we look at it as a predicament, the responses move beyond aspects of efficiency.”, said Rohan D’souza, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University
The conclave brought together practitioners, researchers and experts working on digital technologies and public policy, along with students and concerned citizens who are committed to the cause of climate action. The event anchored the discussions in the case of the Delhi and NCR region. Many experts, policymakers, and academicians joined the event, some of them are:
- Mr. Jasmine Shah – Vice President, Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi
- Ambassador Shyam Saran – Former Foreign Secretary; and Senior Fellow and Member of the Governing Body at Center for Policy Research
- Dr. Chitra Venkatramani – Assistant Professor, NUS, Singapore
- Dr. Prakash Kashwan – Professor, University of Connecticut, USA
- Dr. Kasia Paprocki – Professor, London School of Economics, UK
- Dr. Hita Unnikrishnan – Newton International Fellow (British Academy), Sheffield Urban Institute
- Mr. Sohail Hashmi – Historian, filmmaker and writer
If things have to change, we have to face the issue of how we see the relationship between humans and nature. We will have to go back to our traditions where nature is our mother, we have to cherish nature and not conquer it, which is a western concept. Mr. Shyam Saran – Former Foreign Secretary; and Senior Fellow and Member of the Governing Body at Centre for Policy Research
Some of the themes that were explored are:
- Urban sustainability and governance
- Community and social equity in the discourse of climate action
- Sustainability and technology
- Local and global activism for climate justice
Apart from the online event, an art exhibition on the theme of climate change and the future of the planet was also organised, where local artists, Atul Bhalla, Ravi Aggarwal, Gigi Scaria, presented their work on the larger theme of ecology and environment. We also had an illustrator from Madras, Aafreen Fathima, who had designed the “graffiti” wall, wherein the organising team collected the hashtags related to the localised issues of climate action