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Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot (SCIAP)

SCIAP project in India, funded by GEF-6, is being implemented by UNIDO and UN-Habitat in partnership with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Government of India.

The main goal is to infuse sustainability strategies into urban planning and management at the city level and create an enabling climate for investments in green infrastructure that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve service delivery and enhance the quality of living for all citizens, thereby building resilience and strengthening the governance capacity of the cities.

A major component of the project is to develop an Urban Sustainability Assessment Framework (USAF) for spatial planning in India which is designed as a decision support tool for municipal commissioners and urban practitioners to support sustainable and resilient urban planning and management of cities in India. The performance of the city on the USAF will be provided in the City Profile and Diagnostics Report. These reports will inform the Sustainability City Strategies and related actions and interventions.

The urban diagnostics based on USAF cover 12 sectors, namely, governance and data management, finance and economy, housing and property, water, sanitation, solid waste management, clean energy, disaster risk management, environment, urban form, public space and safety, transportation, and social facilities and services. The performance of these sectors is measured using national and international benchmarks, further refined by consultations with the pilot cities. USAF ‘spatializes’ several indicators of the framework for granular planning and to identify inequalities in service delivery, resource allocation, accessibility of essential utilities, and recreational opportunities, among others, within a city.

Furthermore, giving emphasis to spatially informed planning, USAF equips city managers to model area-based development strategies and assess their impact on improving sectoral performance against benchmarks. Area-based development strategies developed through USAF, when combined with a financing plan, lay the groundwork for capital investment plans thereby providing a critical link between urban planning, municipal finance, and governance. It can also help decision-makers prioritize projects to effectively direct resources towards targeted areas for maximum impact and benefit.

The USAF is applied to the cities to develop City Profiles and Diagnostic Reports that divulge the major issues that need to be addressed to progress the city towards sustainability. These issues will inform the Sustainable City Strategies and related actions and interventions.

In order to ensure participation and buy-in from partners, communities and local governments, the engagement process to develop the USAF includes orientation meetings, consultations, disclosures and workshops with key stakeholders for each stage of the project, to garner their feedback and refine the framework. In addition to the involvement of the government agencies, the involvement of local elected officials as well as citizen groups is also considered crucial in building interest and long-term ownership. The stakeholders in each city were categorized into three tiers depending on the level of influence, relevance, and frequency of their involvement. Tier I are the core agencies that are directly related to urban planning and city management. Tier II are the sector -wise agencies, that will provide relevant data for the USAF and Tier III are the civil society organizations and technical experts.

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