Collaboration with SPA, Delhi
Inaugural Ceremony at School Of Planning and Architecture, January 16, 2013 New Delhi
With 31 percent of India’s urban population residing in its urban areas, addressing India’s urban challenges will require resources for urban infrastructure and technical manpower for urban development and management, as well as trained young urban professionals who would have the capacity to handle the complexities of urbanization and manage India’s cities.
The Indo-German Environment Partnership (IGEP), a partnership programme between the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, has been working closely with and supporting the national, state and local governments of India in order to achieve the goals of sustainable and inclusive urban development. While working in the urban sector for the past years, GIZ has accumulated hands-on-experience and realizes the need to institutionalize this experience and bring back the learnings to the planning pedagogy.
In order to move ahead in this direction, GIZ has collaborated with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, that has been working in the field of research and knowledge management in various sectors related to urban development, at national, state and local levels. The aim of the association is knowledge management and developing the capacity of young professionals. To begin with, the premise of urbanization and urban poverty has been taken up and the endeavour is to equip young minds with new thought processes and understanding and contribute in the action research.
An inaugural ceremony was held at SPA, New Delhi, on January 16, 2013 to formalise the collaboration between SPA, New Delhi and GIZ and support knowledge building and dissemination with reference to urban poverty and inclusive urban planning. The event was jointly presided over by Prof Chetan Vaidya, Director, SPA, New Delhi, Prof Neelima Risbud, Dean of Studies, SPA, New Delhi, Dr Regina Dube, Head and Senior Advisor, GIZ-Sustainable Urban Habitat and Ms. Aparna Das, Senior Advisor, GIZ. It was attended by scholars and practitioners from the urban sector, faculty members from different departments and students of the institute as well as representatives from GIZ.
Prof Risbud, opened the ceremony with the welcome address. She then invited Prof. Vaidya to introduce the presiding members. After a brief introduction, Prof. Vaidya elaborated on the various aspects of the collaboration which includes three tasks: a) support to the preparation of Slum Free City Plan of Action including its linkages to City Sanitation Plan (CSP) and State Sanitation Strategy, b) knowledge management, c) the support of students for knowledge construction. He was glad that such an initiative was taken which would help in converging the academic knowledge of the institute with the practical experiences of GIZ. This association would help in strengthening the knowledge base of the students and would encourage them to work on issues related to urban poverty and inclusiveness in their professional life.
Dr Dube described GIZ’s involvement and experiences in India, specifically about its work in the urban sector of India. She seconded Prof Vaidya on the need of young professionals trained to deal with the challenges of urbanization that the country presents. She also shared her experiences on “For Me and For Everybody” (in Hindi “Mere Liye Aur Sab ke Liye”) - a youth exchange programme between India and Germany, designed to encourage young people to think about their environment and its influence on their daily life. The programme was organized in January, 2011. She concluded that such collaboration would bring in more opportunities to work with students and develop their understanding.
Ms Aparna Das also shared her experiences on “For Me and For Everybody” and said that there is a major disconnect between the academic knowledge that the students gather and the realities of practise; students are not aware of the ground realities and the issues that the cities and the city managers face. This collaboration would try to bridge that gap and would hopefully equip them with the required understanding.
Prof Neelima Risbud summed up the remarks and observations of Prof Vaidya, Dr Dube, and Ms Das and said that collaboration like this should happen more in order to deal with the challenges of poverty and urbanization and equip the young professionals with adequate capacity and competence. She wrapped up the ceremony with a vote of thanks to all the participants.