Delhi joins the Race to Resilience with pledges including reaching 25% green cover within 5 years

By Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi | September 21, 2023

On 20 September, in a momentous announcement, the Government of Delhi pledged its commitment to the Race to Resilience campaign, marking a significant stride towards a more resilient and sustainable future for India’s capital city. Delhi’s formal participation in the Race to Resilience was announced during an event at the Climate Week NYC, “Adaptation and Resilience Action: Showcasing implementation Progress and Catalyzing Pace and Scale“. The participation in the campaign comes with a comprehensive set of commitments aimed at enhancing climate resilience while fostering sustainable development.

As part of the campaign, Delhi has outlined several key actions:

Resilience Action: Waste 

  • Commitment 1: Investment in circular economy assessments to repurpose and reduce waste and generate new business opportunities. This includes the establishment of India’s first e-waste eco-park in Holambi  Kalan, addressing the challenge of electronic waste, and promoting environmentally sound recycling practices.
  • Commitment 2: Comprehensive waste management, including the collection and proper disposal of all waste generated in the city to minimize environmental impact.

Resilience Action: Energy 

  • Commitment 3: Investment in decentralized renewable energy sources to enhance access to clean, sustainable energy and reduce energy poverty. Initiatives include the Delhi Electric Vehicle and Solar Policy, promoting the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure and rooftop solar plants, respectively.

Resilience Action: Nature-based solutions 

  • Commitment 4: Commitment to increasing green space and tree planting, aiming to reach 25% green cover within the next five years. Initiatives like the Delhi City of Lakes project will rejuvenate water bodies, improve water quality, and reduce flooding.

The city of Delhi is actively pursuing a range of efforts to enhance its resilience to various challenges, including those posed by climate change. Delhi faces some of the highest risks from extreme heat, with rising temperatures, an increase in deadly heat waves, and acute urban heat island effects (UHIE) hurting local productivity, putting vulnerable populations at risk, and contributing to rapidly rising energy demand.

Reena Gupta, Advisor to the Government of Delhi said, “Our government is committed to implementing sustainable cooling and heat resilience strategies. I firmly believe that the Delhi Heat Action Plan (HAP) will prioritize themarginalized communities, particularly those living in substandard homes that serve as heat traps.”

In tandem with these efforts, Delhi has set its sights on becoming a national and global leader in rooftop solar  generation through the new Delhi Solar Policy. The overarching objective is to increase the installed capacity of rooftop solar plants to meet 10% of Delhi’s annual energy demand, a transformation that is anticipated to provide  40,000 new green jobs in this sector. At the same time, Delhi launched a pioneering Electric Vehicle (EV) policy in August 2020 to improve the air quality by rapidly increasing EV adoption, targeting a 25% share of EVs in new vehicle registrations by 2024.

She emphasized the government’s steadfast dedication to enhancing climate resilience at the local level during the event. She said, “The government’s existing policies and programs demonstrate a commitment to improving the resilience of urban infrastructure, environment, energy, water supply, and transportation systems. The Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is dedicated to building climate resilience at the local level, enhancing  environmental sustainability, and preparing the city to face the challenges posed by climate change.”

Delhi’s proactive participation in the Race to Resilience campaign reflects its strong commitment to building a more resilient and sustainable future. With a multifaceted approach encompassing waste management, renewable energy, nature-based solutions, and a keen focus on vulnerable communities, the city is poised to lead by example in the face of climate challenges. These dedicated efforts not only strengthen climate resilience but also pave the way for a greener, more inclusive, and economically vibrant Delhi, setting a precedent for urban centres globally.

H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, said: “Communities must build resilience to climate change, and Delhi’s ambitions are exemplary. We can learn from the pragmatic, realistic and just solutions-oriented approach that the City of Delhi is providing. For example, boosting clean energy using rooftop solar plants in residential areas, or advancing the technology used for monitoring local air pollution. I look forward to supporting these plans and offering a blueprint for other cities in India, Asia, and further across the world.

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP27, said: “I congratulate Delhi for joining the Race to Resilience campaign and aligning to Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda launched at the UN Climate Conference in Sharm El Sheikh last year by the COP 27 Presidency and High-Level Champions. Delhi is showing that climate action can be approached holistically, offering solutions that are inclusive and affordable for both investors and the community.”