New York Delegation with Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan makes a mark at the Urban 20/G-20 Inception Meeting in Ahmedabad

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AHMEDABAD: Resonating with India’s G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, Ahmedabad hosted the “Urban 20” (U20) Inception meeting in early February. Around a hundred delegates representing more than forty cities from around the world and around thirty partner organizations & institutions attended the plenary sessions. The main purpose of U20 was to emphasize that actions taken at the city level can drive lasting positive global outcomes underscoring the interconnectedness of the world and our shared future.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) recognizes this decade as the ‘Decade for Action’ to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. This decade is also witnessing those global issues of economy, climate, human settlements, health, and multiple other crises that are also issued in urban areas. Given the contribution of cities to the productivity of nations and the world, it is crucial they play a pivotal role in developing effective solutions to pressing and interlinked global issues.

In line with the Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister’s vision of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, the U20 engagement meeting proved important in realizing the mantra of ‘Sarvajan Hitaya, Sarvajan Sukhai'(welfare and prosperity of all sections of society.

The Opening Session of the U20 Inception Meeting was attended by, Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Hon’ble Minister, Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India; Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat; Shri Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa; Shri Kirtikumar J Parmar, Mayor of Ahmedabad; Shri Raj Kumar, Chief Secretary, Gujarat; Shri Manoj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India; Shri Mukesh Kumar, Principal Secretary, Urban Development & Urban Housing Department, from Government of Gujarat; Shri M. Thennarasan, Municipal Commissioner, Ahmedabad; Shri Praveen Chaudhary, Ahmedabad City Sherpa, U20 Conveners, U20 City Sherpas, Multilateral Organization and institution’s Representatives.

The three-day meeting also saw top-level representatives from various nations. Mr. Dilip Chauhan who coincidentally hails from Ahmedabad in Gujarat represented the most important city in New York at the U20 meet. Mr. Chauhan is the 1st Indian-American to be appointed as Deputy Commissioner in New York city’s commission on International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment, and Innovation in Honorable Mayor Eric Adams’s administration.

In opening remarks, the Mayor of Ahmedabad, Shri Kirtikumar J Parmar, greeted the delegates to Ahmedabad – a UNESCO World Heritage city and U20 2023 Chair City. He highlighted some of Ahmedabad’s, unique urban development initiatives as well as the priority areas identified for U20 building on this year’s G20 theme “One Earth – One Family – One Future” that are critical for inspiring city-level actions to respond to global agendas. Shri Parmar further added the U20 meeting being held in the city of Ahmedabad will provide the best suggestions and plans for urban development and long-term sustainable development worldwide to achieve the goals.

The effort of the sixth U20 was to move from intention to action and to draft a roadmap for a global change that will be driven by cities by minimizing the gaps between policy and practice at all levels of governance. For this, cities must be empowered to achieve the right balance between economic prosperity and environmental impact; increasing densities and sprawl; diversity and social cohesion; technological advancements and digital divide, and multiple other contradictions faced by urban areas.

Ahmedabad as the Chair city for the sixth U20, invoked the solidarity of cities with the objective to deepen their collaboration amongst one another to collectively find common solutions that are in sync with the overall objectives of the G20.

U20 highlighted six critical priority areas for inspiring city-level actions to respond to global agendas. These can be further developed by collaborative deliberations among Sherpas and leaders of U20 cities to finalize the communique. These included Encouraging Environmentally Responsible Behaviors, Ensuring Water Security, Accelerating Climate Finance, Championing ‘local’ identity, Reinventing Frameworks for Urban Governance and Planning, and Catalyzing Digital Urban Futures.

The delegates also got the opportunity to explore Gujarat’s rich and varied handloom and handicraft products at the Crafts Exhibition setup at Hotel Taj Skyline to showcase Live demonstrations by Master Artisans was also showcased to the delegates.

Photo Courtesy: AMC ( Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation)

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