The Ambassador of France to India, H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of Germany to India, H.E. Mr Walter J. Lindner and the Ambassador of the European Union to India, H.E. Mr Ugo Astuto, will undertake a joint visit to the city of Kochi on Saturday, 12th December on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Kochi, as a dynamic port city and the economic capital of Kerala, is confronted with challenges common to many Indian cities and which are key in shaping India’s trajectory for sustainable development goals. Kochi also illustrates how Indo-European partnership can help address these challenges, in particular by supporting ambitious low carbon urban development policies that help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
During the visit, the three envoys will thus visit several key sites of Kochi’s innovative, low carbon transport network. They will board the water metro (financed by German investment bank KfW) and visit the Cochin Shipyard where the construction of a 100-seater boat is underway. Following this, the envoys will take e-buses to reach Vytilla, an intermodal transport hub which connects the water metro, bus services and the Kochi metro (financed by the French Development Agency with a Technical Assistance grant from the European Union).
Kochi metro, partially inaugurated in 2017, is the first building block of an integrated mobility policy implemented by the state and local authorities. This ambitious vision, pioneered by Kochi Metro Rail (KMRL), benefits from technical and financial support from France, Germany and the European Union. It has already resulted in significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
The envoys will then witness a prime example of Kochi’s comprehensive urban mobility planning at Edapally station, where pedestrian and bicycle traffic is prioritised. This will provide an opportunity to showcase the results of the Mobilize Your City programme (MYC), which was jointly launched at the COP 21 by the French and German governments and aimed at reducing urban transport-related emissions. Kochi is one of the cities pioneering the MYC initiative in India, with support from AFD and a funding to the tune of 3.5 million euros from the European Union.
On the last leg of the visit, the Ambassadors will alight at Muttom Depot and use e-rickshaws, which provide critical first and last mile connectivity services in Kochi’s public transport network, to reach the Muttom operations control room. KMRL representatives will highlight their groundbreaking gender and social inclusion initiatives, as well as work on flood mitigation measures, rainwater harvesting and solar power-integration.
During the visit, the envoys will also hold talks with mobility and urban development stakeholders, including Cochin Smart City Development Limited. Kochi is one of twelve cities benefiting from technical and financial support under Government of India’s CITIIS (City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain) programme, supported by the French Development Agency and the European Union through an e-health project.
Ahead of the visit, the three Ambassadors said:
Ambassador of France H.E. Mr Emmanuel Lenain: ‘”The close ties between France and the City of Kochi are more than two decades old. Moreover, cooperation with French Development Bank started in 2014, with two successive loans totaling more than 207 million euros. Five years on, it is truly impressive to see how our collaboration has supported the city to improve public transport, reduce emissions and create a commuter and climate-friendly city. Achieving COP 21’s Agenda of Solutions relies on broad partnershiplike the one built in Kochi. It is an inspiring example of what we can achieve together with India, illustrating the way to concrete actions that help meet the Paris Agreement’s goals.”
Ambassador of the European Union H.E. Mr Ugo Astuto : “As the world continues to grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic, we must not forget that the fight against climate change is an existential issue for all of us. We must work together for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and make a success of COP 26 on climate and COP 15 on biodiversity. Tackling the impacts of this global crisis must go hand in hand with fighting climate change and combating biodiversity loss to build a greener future. Post Covid, we need to ‘build back better’ and invest in an economic model fit for the 21st century- green, digital and resilient. Cities and states also have an important role to play in shaping a sustainable world. In Kochi we see an excellent example of Team Europe in action and of the EU – India partnership for the promotion of sustainable investments in urban mobility. We look forward to further strengthening this partnership. ”
Ambassador of Germany H.E. Mr Walter Lindner: “Five years ago the Paris Agreement was signed. It alone might not have been enough to save this planet for generations to come. But it was an important milestone on our way to a greener future. We all have to make sure now, whether we are in Europe or in India, wherever we are on this planet, that we take stock regularly. We increase our ambitions, we set ourselves goals which ensure that it is five to twelve and not five past twelve. Covid has shown us that cleaner air and a cleaner environment indeed is possible. What we need now is a greener restart to our economies. Let’s make this happen, let’s keep the promise to our children and grandchildren. Let’s make this world a better place, let’s make this world a greener place.”
Paris Agreement on Climate Change
It was five years ago today that the Paris Agreement was adopted at the climate negotiations COP 21, in Paris. For the first time an agreement brought together nearly all countries for a common cause- to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time and the Paris Agreement shows that a multilateral approach can offer a fair, operational and pragmatic solution. At a time when the world needs to recover from COVID, the EU and its 27 Member States are more committed than ever to the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050. The EU along with its Member States has a concrete and ambitious partnership with India on Climate Action.
About the EU and EU-India Ties
The EU, which consists of 27 countries, has the world's second largest economy and its third largest population, after China and India. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'Member States') are all committed to the same basic values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. By creating a frontier-free single market and a single currency (the euro) which has been adopted by 19 Member States, the EU has given a significant boost to trade and employment.
EU-India relations: For over 55 years, the EU and India have worked together to reduce poverty, prevent disasters, expand trade, secure global public goods, enhance security around the world and promote joint research in energy, health, agriculture and many other fields of mutual interest. As on date, the European Union has provided grants of EUR 32 million to AFD for the sustainable development projects in India.
The CITIIS (City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain) programme is conceptualised to assist Indian cities in implementing urban infrastructure projects that are integrated, innovation driven and sustainable. The selected projects will improve sustainable mobility, increase public open spaces, implement technology to improve e-governance and drive social and organisational innovation in low income settlements.
The programme combines financial assistance through loans and technical assistance through grants to the selected cities. This assistance focuses on strengthening institutions by committing resources to systematic planning (maturation phase) before implementation, by developing results-based monitoring frameworks and by adopting technology for programme monitoring.
CITIIS is supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Union (EU). The aim of the project is to provide financial assistance by way of grants and technical assistance through international and domestic experts. The project is being coordinated and managed by the Program Management Unit (PMU) at the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in New Delhi.
Launched at COP 21 in Paris, the MobiliseYourCity Partnership is a leading global partnership for sustainable mobility of nearly 100 partners, including 60 city partners and 14 country partners. It is jointly co-financed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), and the French Ministry for Ecological Transition. The Partnership is implemented by AFD, GIZ, ADEME, Cerema, CODATU, EBRD, KFW, and Wuppertal Institute.