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Urban affairs ministry program aims to upskill 5,000 professionals to lead climate action

The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and World Resources Institute (WRI) India have announced Leaders in Climate Change Management (LCCM), a practice-based learning program that aims at building capacity among urban professionals to lead climate action across sectors and geographies in India.

To facilitate this face-to-face learning programme, the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Mysuru, also signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the NIUA and WRI India on Monday, becoming the first delivery partner of the programme.

LCCM envisions capacitating 5,000 professionals, including mid-to junior-level government officials and frontline workers, and preparing them to champion climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions towards a coordinated effort to achieve India’s climate commitments. The launch also marked the achievements of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which supports the NIUA, towards India’s urban climate goals.

V Manjula, Karnataka additional chief secretary and director-general of ATI Mysuru, said, “Given the rapid urbanisation of states like Karnataka, this is a very great move. ATI is uniquely positioned to be part of the initiative as we do have centers of excellence to give focused training on disaster management, sustainable development goals, e-governance and data analytics etc. People are aware of climate change impacts and know that it requires urgent action but many times there is lack of capacity and lack of management structures. We intend to leverage this collaboration and the experience gained in the process as a springboard for launching an extensive state level training partner program in LCCM, and to emerge as a center of excellence at the national level for LCCM. At ATI we are looking forward to this initiative to learn from this and to be able to embed climate change in various training programs which we conduct at state and national levels for officers.”

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Hardeep Singh Puri, Union minister for housing and urban affairs, said, “It is most appropriate and fitting that we are launching the program today immediately after the celebration of World Environment Day yesterday. This program is another initiative in a long line of government interventions to not only combat climate change but also to build a new path of sustainable development that fulfills our economic conditions.”

The LCCM programme, designed and implemented in partnership with the United Nation Environment Program and Indian School of Business, aims to strengthen India’s workforce to achieve this goal. It is a blended learning program for urban practitioners looking to upskill and prepare themselves to deliver effective climate action. The program has four phases: the first phase is an online learning module that can be completed over eight weeks; the next includes face-to-face sessions spanning four to six days; the third phase mandates participants to complete a project over six-eight months and attend exposure visits; and the final phase includes networking and establishing a community of practice.

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The online learning will be hosted on the National Urban Learning Platform, the capacity-building arm of the NIUA. It will also be hosted and supported by ATI, Mysuru. The program aims to sign similar deals with ATIs across India over the next few months.

Mr Kunal Kumar, joint secretary at the housing and urban affairs ministry, said, “To achieve these goals, we need to have innovation, participation, technology, integration and capacity optimization. We have already started on this journey through various missions of the government of India, including the Smart Cities Mission. The ministry, in collaboration with the French Development Agency (AFD), European Union and the NIUA, launched the initiative – City Investments to Innovate, Integrate and Sustain (CITIIS) as an urban innovation mechanism. The program has developed project management tools and frameworks across the urban sector, including environmental and social safeguards. Leaders in Climate Change Management (LCCM) is connected to the CITIIS program. The first cohort of the LCCM program will have participants from the 12 cities getting assistance under the CITIIS programme. LCCM will become an integral part of CITIIS 2.0, as it will act as a capacity-building arm.”

Dr OP Agarwal, chief executive of WRI India, presenting the LCCM programme, its structure and aim to upskill urban climate leadership in India, said, “The key challenge in building capacity for mid-career professionals is using the right kind of pedagogy – a teaching style that encourages learning by doing, rather than by just listening to lectures. LCCM has fully recognized this and adopted this kind of teaching style.

Hitesh Vaidya, director of the NIUA, said, “Given the rate of investments towards urban sectors in India, for example $30 billion for the smart cities programme, the need for incorporating climate action within existing and future investments towards physical, social and environmental services is paramount to ensure sustainable development. Through LCCM, the National Institute of Urban Affairs will be working toward its goal of building capacities and knowledge dissemination on dynamic discourse of urban issues, with reference to the climate change issues.”

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