“In urban policy we need to get to where climate policy is” – Ani Dasgupta
Ani Dasgupta, Global Director of WRI Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, on the need for a global urban policy:
“I think urban policies got recognition in the global arena. From SDGs, from climate negotiations, from finance – that has happened. But it has not gained the recognition as a globally impactful policy. If you compare it with climate policy: Obama, the presidents, the prime ministers are going to the COP to talk about climate policy. But not so much for urban policy. Why is that? That’s the shift that needs to take place. Most people in the world live in cities. Most economies are dependent on what happens in cities. Most poor people soon will live in cities. So what happens in cities is very important. It is really a conundrum, why is it not a global agenda? But I think that tide is shifting. If you just look at the example of India. India is only 35 percent urbanised. Yet, the government in India that is there now has the most progressive, the most ambitious urban policy. The recognition that cities need to get right for India to grow. That economic recognition, that social recognition needs to take place. And this is happening in India, which is a still a very rural country. You can’t win an election in India if you don’t consider the rural area. Yet, you see the government actually looking at urban policies. So my view is the shift is taking place. It is not taking place everywhere. The recent OECD study that looked at urban policies across the world saw one in three countries have urban policies. And the majority of them don’t have environment in their urban policies. So a lot needs to be done. Our view is that we need to make the economic case. Not just cities are good. Cities are good, are needed, cities need to work better for the economic performance of a country, for social outcome for its people and obviously for a climate outcome of the world. I think these interconnections between the three has not been articulated as strongly and our hope as WRI is exactly to show the economic case, show the social case, so the shift takes place. I see the shift taking place in major countries in the world and I am very hopeful the shift will take place in others. We need to get to where climate policy is in urban policy.”
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