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Unido to double India spend, focus on 5 cities

Unido to double India spend, focus on 5 cities

NEW DELHI: In an attempt to enhance Indian cities’ credit-worthiness and improve their ability to access financing, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) plans to double its spend in India this year with a sharp focus to develop sustainable cities. This, according to Philippe Scholtes, managing director of Unido, will help in linking Indian cities to international city networks.

“We target at this point five cities across the country — Bhopal, Vijayawada, Guntur, Mysore and Jaipur. The project we are launching now is part of a global programme funded by the Global Environment Facility and co-implemented by the World Bank and Unido. The programme is known as Integrated Approach Programme on Sustainable Cities,” Scholtes told ET.

In India, Unido spent around $4million in 2013 and 2014 annually, raised its expenditure to $7 million annually in 2015, and is targeting a figure of $16 million in 2017 on the back of a batch of new projects such as the one on sustainable cities.

Unido currently manages a portfolio of 18 projects in India with a total value of $70 million that is entirely grant or nonrefundable assistance of which $34.7 million have been spent in recent years, leaving another $35.3 million for future expenditures.

The organisation has identified inefficient institutional capabilities, lack of coordination between national and local authorities, scant qualified human resource and short-term planning with poorly integrated approach for city development as challenges in urban planning in India.

“Coherent strategies are frequently developed and implemented by different responsible bodies but lacking coordination, sometimes resulting in contradictory actions being undertaken,” Scholtes said.

Citing insufficient innovative funding schemes for investment projects, he said public-private partnership implementation still has challenges that need to be overcome and that continuity of investment projects is often impaired.

To overcome the challenges, Unido will continue to provide technical assistance in the areas of chemicals and waste management, industrial energy efficiency, industrial applications of renewable energy, especially solar, eco-industrial parks and industrial upgradation in the sectors of cement, pulp and paper, and bicycle manufacturing.

“However, we are also gearing up to expand our services to include cross-cutting and integrated approaches such as in sustainable cities,” Scholtes said.

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