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International Symposium on Knowledge Sharing for Capacity Building for Planning of Sustainable Cities

October 2014, Pune, India:

This international symposium jointly organized by the University of Cologne, Germany (UoC), Institute of Environment Education and Research-Bharati Vidyapeeth University (BVIEER), Pune, Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenareit (GIZ) GmbH, India and the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH), New Delhi from 8-10 October 2014 in Pune was attended by 61 participants from academia, government, non-government organizations and Masters, doctoral and post-doctoral  students.

Economic reform has already unleashed investment and growth opportunities making Indian cities a powerful magnet resulting in unprecedented rapid urban expansion.  Making cities liveable and sustainable is thus a key concern of high priority for the Indian government. It is also an area that Germany has requisite expertise in. This symposium aimed to strengthen the efforts to disseminate and share good practices and lessons on making cities sustainable using examples from Germany. This is a fast emerging area of research /practice in India and it provides new avenues of academic collaboration as well as scientific knowledge sharing in the field further strengthening the Indo-German collaboration at various levels.

The main objectives of the symposium was to facilitate dissemination and sharing of good practices and lessons learnt about fostering sustainable cities, identify areas in which further capacity building and knowledge sharing are needed by the local governments and develop strategies to meet the knowledge and capacity gaps.

Sessions were held on ‘Sustainable Urban Transport’, ‘Sustainable Solid Waste Management’, and ‘Urban green spaces’.

Excursions (see pictures above): Newly build bus rapid transport system. Another stop was at the Pashan Lake located in the urban area of Pune, which previously had been harmed by deforestation causing heavy silt formation resulting in decrease in water depth and destruction of wildlife. Within the past decade its unique and large biodiversity had been restored - the lake again became a popular resting place for migratory birds.

The symposium was a great success.