Sunday 30 October 2016

Call for Applications | S.T.E.A.M. School: an Indo-French Partnership Program driven at Shaping Tomorrow's India | Nov 25 - Dec 4 | Mumbai

S.T.E.A.M. School
November 25 - December 4, 2016 | Mumbai
Deadline for Applications: November 8
9 Intensive Days, 36 Participants, 12 Rapid Prototyping Experts, 10 Mentors from India and France.

About S.T.E.A.M. School
S.T.E.A.M. School is an Indo-French partnership programme driven at shaping tomorrow's India. This programme offers 100% scholarships for the ideal candidates along with a certificate of completion. It is an initiative to encourage hands on education for social change.
S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics. These areas of education are the primary focus of this programme. We will use them to look at global challenges with local perspective. There will be project based learning in designing, prototyping and testing techniques. Participants will choose from existing Urban Challenges driven by UN's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. This programme gives you a unique opportunity to indulge in creative learning through Design thinking, Rapid Prototyping, 3D Printing, Electronics / IoT and AR/VR.
We have designed the programme in such a way that if you wish to develop a product in the area of the given challenges, we will train you in the skills you need to build your prototype. This will enable you to solve real world problems through prototyping and learning. We will also provide you with support after the program if you wish to take your product development to the next level.

Project Themes
Health Care and Wellness: Prosthetics, Assistive Devices, Remote Healthcare and Diagnostics
Future of Media: Drones, AR/VR, Greening of Production & Filming Processes
Quality Education: Experiential Technologies, Gamification
Water Quality/Environment: Water Resources, Water Treatment
Smart City and Communities: Urban Mobility, Preventing Food Wastage, Air Pollution

Who Should Apply
Are you someone with the bent of mind for problem solving? Do you have the commitment to struggle with your problem till your Eureka moment? Do you have demonstrable work done in the development space to share with us? Are you able to learn and adapt to challenges? If the answer to these questions is 'yes' then this programme is for you. An ideal participant in this program would be either experienced or passionate about working in sectors related to the given challenges. It could also be someone who wants to work towards product development for social change. This programme will bring together people from various aspects of civil society. It will be an opportunity for you to collaborate with design and architecture graduates, social scientists and engineers among others.

New Report | Dairy Sector in India: Opportunities in Key States and Products | by Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi and YES Bank

Dairy Sector in India: Opportunities in Key States and Products
by Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi and YES Bank, October 2016.


Over the past 50 years, the diary sector in the Netherlands has seen incredible transformation. In the 1960s, the average dairy-producing farm had approximately 9 cows, which is quite similar to the current situation in many parts of India. The two decades thereafter saw a shift from mixed farming to specialized farming; which continues to this day. As a result of this farm intensification, the average Dutch dairy farm has approximately 70 animals today; a staggering increase of more than 630%!Factors such as mechanization and the high use of inputs such as fertilizers and feed have all played their role in this astounding transformation.
The dairy sector in the Netherlands is the story of self-organization, accepting challenges, adapting to the need of the market and a dramatic transformation in a single generation. The so-called 'Approach of the Netherlands' where the private sector, Government, and research institutes work together on innovative solutions.
Whilst the increase in productivity has been an important factor in the Dutch dairy industry, sustainably increasing production is of even greater importance. The mantra of the Sustainable Dairy Chain goes "If you can't measure it you can't manage it." The different stakeholders of the Sustainable Dairy Chain emphasize the following goals: the Dutch dairy chain targets a 20% reduction in greenhouses gases by 2020, the improvement in livestock health and welfare, preservation of grazing, and the protecting biodiversity and the environment. All are goals that the stakeholders strive to attain to ensure the Dairy Chain becomes more sustainable.
The Indian dairy sector is very diverse and at the same time, is at different stages of development in different parts of the country. India has some very well organized co-operatives, foreign and domestic companies. How they develop their supply chains and product lines varies from player to player. Then there are also the government organizations which have their own programs for small scale farmers. All have their different challenges.
This study is a joint effort of the Agriculture Department of the Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Delhi and Yes Bank reflecting on the recent developments that have undergone in the sector of dairy focusing on states like Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana and Maharashtra.
I congratulate YES BANK for their dedicated efforts in bringing out this volume whose work shaped this piece. We have no doubt it will be useful to policy analysts, policymakers, the research & development community at large. This study will also help to achieve commercial success by collaborating on mutually identified development projects & will contribute to respective bilateral goals for both India and Netherlands.
Wouter Verhey | Agricultural Counsellor | Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi

India is the world's largest dairy producer, with 156 Mn MT of annual milk production, contributing over 18 % of global production. Dairy is Indian agriculture's single largest sub sector in value terms, generating annual revenue of over USD 70 Bn. Demographic dividend, changing lifestyle patterns, rise in disposable incomes, structural food habit changes and improved health consciousness are key growth drivers fuelling development of the dairy industry in India.
Multiple opportunities exist in India, across the post-production dairy value chain, in areas of storage, procurement, processing and packaging technologies. These opportunities offer tremendous scope for technology suppliers, processors and service providers to tap into one of the world's largest dairy markets. While, at the backend, private and cooperative dairy processors are actively investing in procurement infrastructure for consistent availability of good quality milk, at the front, the industry is rapidly diversifying into high-margin, value-added dairy products such as cheese, Ultra High Temperature (UHT) milk, ice cream and flavoured milk.
This YES BANK - Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands study 'Dairy Sector in India: Opportunities in Key States and Products' provides an in-depth overview of the Indian dairy market and captures key potential opportunities across the post-harvest dairy value chain, both in terms of geographical as well as product-based opportunities. Additionally, the study profiles the milk production scenario, value chain structure, processing infrastructure scenario as well as recent developments and opportunities in key States of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. On the product front, cheese and UHT milk have been profiled in detail across market opportunity, competitive landscaping, products variants, key trends & key product technology suppliers fronts.
I am confident that the study will be of immense value to the Dutch dairy industry in recognizing the vast potential of India's dairy market, thereby enabling strong partnership opportunities between India and the Netherlands in the sector.
Rana Kapoor | Managing Director & CEO YES Bank | Chairman, YES Institute

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Overview of Dairy Industry in India
Dairy Industry Scenario in Selected States
Assessment of Selected Products
Cheese & Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Milk

Thursday 27 October 2016

IIAS Shimla invites applications for the Award of Fellowships

IIAS Shimla | Award of Fellowships

The Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) invites applications for the Award of Fellowships for advanced research in the following areas (ref. advertisement no. 05/2016):
(a) Social, Political and Economic Philosophy;
(b) Comparative Indian Literature (Including Ancient, Medieval, Modem Folk and Tribal);
(c) Comparative Studies In Philosophy and Religion;
(d) Comparative Studies in History (Including Historiography and Philosophy of History);
(e) Education, Culture, Arts including performing Arts and Crafts;
(f) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Logic and Mathematics;
(g) Fundamental Concepts and Problems of Natural and Life Sciences;
(h) Studies In Environment;
(I) Indian Civilization in the context of Asian Neighbours; and
(j) Problems of Contemporary India in the context of National Integration and Nation-building.

For details please visit IIAS website: The prescribed application form can be downloaded from this website of the Institute. Applications on the prescribed form may be sent to the Secretary, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla-171005. Applications can also be made online. Only applications in the prescribed application form would be considered by the Institute. Applications must reach the institute by 30th November 2016.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

New Book | Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All | Comparing Business Regulation for Domestic Firms in 190 Economies

Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All.
A World Bank Group Flagship Report, Comparing Business Regulation for Domestic Firms in 190 Economies.
by World Bank Group, New York, 2016. ISBN: 9781464809484.

Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 14th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time.
Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year's ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year's ranking.
Data in Doing Business 2017 are current as of June 1, 2016. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why.

Main Findings
  • Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All finds that entrepreneurs in 137 economies saw improvements in their local regulatory framework last year. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the report, which measures 190 economies worldwide, documented 283 business reforms. Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business were the most common in 2015/16, as in the previous year. The next most common reforms were in the areas of paying taxes, getting credit and trading across borders.Read about business reforms.
  • Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain were the most improved economies in 2015/16 in areas tracked by Doing Business. Together, these 10 top improvers implemented 48 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business.
  • Economies in all regions are implementing reforms easing the process of doing business, but Europe and Central Asia continues to be the region with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform—96% of economies in the region have implemented at least one business regulatory reform.
  • Doing Business includes a gender dimension in four of the 11 topics sets. Starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts present a gender dimension for the first time this year. Labor market regulation already captured gender disaggregated data in last year's report.
  • This year's report expands the paying taxes topic set to cover postfiling processes—what happens after a firm pays taxes—such as tax refunds, tax audits and administrative tax appeals.
  • This year's report also includes an annex with analysis on a pilot indicator on public procurement regulations.
  • The report features six case studies in the areas of getting electricity, getting credit: legal rights, getting credit: credit information, protecting minority investors, paying taxes and trading across borders as well as two annexes in the areas of labor market regulation and selling to the government. The case studies and annexes either present new indicators or provide further insights from the data collected through methodology changes implemented in the past two years. See all case studies.

Table of Contents
About Doing Business
Reforming the Business Environment in 2015/16
Case studies
Getting Electricity: Factors affecting the reliability of electricity supply
Getting Credit: Legal Rights - Two approaches to developing an integrated secured transactions regime
Getting Credit: Credit Information - Casting a wide net to expand financial inclusion
Protecting Minority Investors: Achieving sound corporate governance
Paying Taxes: Assessing postfiling processes
Trading Across Borders: Technology gains in trade facilitation
Annex: Labor Market Regulation - What can we learn from Doing Business data?
Annex: Selling to the Government - Why public procurement matters

Top 10 Countries
1 New Zealand
2 Singapore
3 Denmark
4 Hong Kong SAR, China
5 Korea, Republic of
6 Norway
7 United Kingdom
8 United States
9 Sweden
10 Macedonia, FYR

BRICS Ranking
40 Russian Federation
74 South Africa
78 China
123 Brazil
130 India

Monday 24 October 2016

Ecological Wisdom in the New Urban Era | Current Science, Guest Editorial

Ecological Wisdom in the New Urban Era

Guest Editorial by Harini Nagendra. Current Science, 111 (8), 25 October 2016, 1283-1284.

The 21st century is increasingly referred to as the urban era. By 2050, two thirds of humanity will squeeze into congested urban environments. More than 90% of this urban growth will come from Asia and Africa, with three countries – India, China and Nigeria – accounting for 37% of the increase (United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, 2014). By 2050, estimations indicate that India will add as many as 404 million people to its burgeoning cities and towns. Of the world's ten largest cities, three are located in India – Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Three of the world's ten fastest growing cities are in India as well – Ghaziabad, Surat and Faridabad. ...

Call for Papers | 2nd India International Science Festival 2016 | 7-11 December at CSIR-NPL, New Delhi, India

2nd India International Science Festival

CSIR-NPL, New Delhi, India

7-11 December 2016

Call for Papers: Submission of Abstract till October 31, 2016

Science for the Masses: Today in India as many as 833 million Indians, or 69% of the population, live in rural areas, with persisting structural problems such as, agriculture, health, water, sanitation, housing etc. A large part of rural India is looking forward to better times along with the rest of India. On the other hand, having a significant percentage of population in the youth category India's demographic dividend is also a global talking point as well. All these necessitate that, the country continuously strives for growth and development through investment in science and research. In this background, the Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Govt. of India and Vijnana Bharati, have planned to organise the 2nd IISF-2016 jointly at CSIR-NPL & IARI campus from December 7-11, 2016.

About IISF 2016
The series of India International Science Festival (IISF) is an integral part of India's long term vision in developing and widening the spectrum of scientific temper in India and abroad. To display India's contribution in the field of S&T and to motivate the young scientists to find solutions to the burning issues of our society; the 1st IISF was held at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi in December, 2015.The festival primarily aimed to involve and include commoners with a view to improve their scientific understanding, temperament and appreciation for various feats in science & technology by showcasing Indian achievements. Indeed, the event was a great success with the participation of more than 3000 young scientists across the country. The mega S&T expo attracted more than 3 Lakh people. VIBHA has become the Guinness Book World Record Holder for the successful conduct of the 'Largest Practical Science Lesson' by 2000 students from prestigious schools of Delhi.

IISF 2016 Activities
  • DST-INSPIRE National level camp
  • Science Village/ Mega Student Camp
  • Involving Students in Guinness Book of World Records
  • Young Scientists Meet
  • Scientific Workshops
  • National Level Competition (Ideas for Bharat Nirman)
  • Industry Academia Interaction
  • Showcasing Outstanding Achievements
  • Mega Science, Technology & Industry Expo
  • International Science Film Festival
  • Outreach and Pre-event activities
  • Cultural Programs

Thursday 20 October 2016

21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies | 1-21 December | TERI University, New Delhi, India

21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies

Organized by : TERI University in association with NRDMS, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India

1-21 December 2016

Venue: TERI University, New Delhi

Call for Participation
NRDMS, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, sponsored 21 Day Training Programme on Geospatial Technologies (Equivalent to Refresher Course) is being organized by Department of Natural Resources, TERI University, from 1 - 21 December 2016. the objective of the programme is a follows:
- Impart basic knowledge principles and applications of Geoinformatics
- Hands on training through open sources platform
- Expert lecture on environment, society, natural resources, climate change and sustainability - key competence of the TERI University
- Three to four days project work for participants to use Geospatial techniques in various domain fallow by the expert lecture.

Who can apply?: The NRDMS (DST) training programme is open for participants of colleges/universities faculty; scientists; state/central government officials; disaster management planners, research scholars/ fellows in the field of Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Oceanography, Water resources, Climatology, Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science, Ecology, Economics and secondary school teachers who wish to develop their skills in geospatial technologies. The candidate must be nominated by their respective organization.

How to apply: Interested candidates are required to send duly filled application form and forward the completed application by email to or send the application to Dr Vinay S P Sinha, Programme Coordinator, MSc. Geoinformatics, Department of Natural Resources, TERI University, 10 Institutional Area, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110 070, India latest by 1st November 2016. Selected candidates will be informed by 5th November, 2016 either by email or phone.

Course Coordinator : Dr Vinay S P Sinha, | Tel: +91-11-71800222

New Book | Guidelines on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry

Guidelines on Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry
by F. Salbitano, S. Borelli, M. Conigliaro and Y. Chen. FAO Forestry Paper No. 178. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2016. ISBN 9789251094426.

Although cities occupy only 2 percent of the planet's surface, their inhabitants use 75 percent of its natural resources. The world is urbanizing quickly, too: by 2050, 70 percent of the global population will live in cities and towns. Sustainable urban development is crucial, therefore, for ensuring the quality of life of the world's people.
Forests and trees in urban and peri-urban environments, if properly managed, can make important contributions to the planning, design and management of sustainable, resilient landscapes. They can help make cities:
  • safer – by reducing stormwater runoff and the impacts of wind and sand storms, mitigating the "heat island" effect, and contributing to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change;
  • more pleasant – by providing space for recreation and venues for social and religious events, and ameliorating weather extremes;
  • healthier – by improving air quality, providing space for physical exercise, and fostering psychological well-being;
  • wealthier – by providing opportunities for the production of food, medicines and wood and generating economically valuable ecosystem services; and
  • more diverse and attractive – by providing natural experiences for urban and peri-urban dwellers, increasing biodiversity, creating diverse landscapes, and maintaining cultural traditions.
To support the world's cities in reaping the benefits of urban and peri-urban forests, a few years ago FAO initiated a collaborative process to develop voluntary guidelines aimed at optimizing the contributions of forests and trees to sustainable urban development. Scientists, practitioners and public administrators from cities worldwide were brought together in a series of workshops to discuss the elements and key challenges of urban forestry, and a smaller team of experts was assembled to distil this vast knowledge.
This document is the ultimate result of that process. It is intended for a global audience, primarily comprising urban decision-makers, civil servants, policy advisors and other stakeholders to assist in developing urban and peri-urban forests as a way of meeting the present and future needs of cities for forest products and ecosystem services. The guidelines will also help increase community awareness of the contributions that trees and forests can make to improving quality of life, and of their essential role in global sustainability.
I thank all those involved in producing this document, which, I have no doubt, will help ensure that cities worldwide maintain and enhance the well-being of their citizens and the global environment.
René Castro-Salazar | Assistant Director-General, FAO Forestry Department

Tuesday 18 October 2016

New Book | UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development

UNESCO Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development
by UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 2016. ISBN 9789231001703.

With over half of the world's population now living in urban areas, the road to sustainable development passes through cities in every corner of the globe. As the United Nations works to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda, to be adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in October 2016, it is critical to bring together the best policies to make the most of our cities.
The challenges we face are steep and cities are on the frontlines of sustainable development issues such as education, food security, water management, the development of inclusive societies, and effective institutions. Yet cities are also one of humanity's most brilliant inventions for crafting solutions for the future. Fundamentally, cities bring creative and productive people together, helping them to do what they do best: exchange, create and innovate. From the ancient cities of Mesopotamia to the city-states of the Italian Renaissance and the vibrant metropolises of today, urban areas have been among the most powerful engines of human development. Today, we must once again place our hope in cities.
Culture lies at the heart of urban renewal and innovation. This Report provides a wealth of insights and concrete evidence showing the power of culture as a strategic asset for creating cities that are more inclusive, creative and sustainable. Creativity and cultural diversity have been the key drivers of urban success. Cultural activities can foster social inclusion and dialogue among diverse communities. Tangible and intangible heritage are integral parts of a city's identity, creating a sense of belonging and cohesion. Culture embodies the soul of a city, allowing it to progress and build a future of dignity for all. This reflection has been at the core of UNESCO's work over the last decades, notably through the development of programmes such as the Creative Cities Network, the Learning and Smart Cities initiatives and the protection of historic urban landscapes. This vision has received new energy with the explicit recognition of the role of culture as an enabler of sustainable development, and as one of the key conditions to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11 to 'Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'.
A human-centred city is a culture-centred space. We must translate this reality into more effective policies and sustainable urban governance. Cities have become living laboratories for determining how some of the most pressing challenges we face are negotiated, managed and experienced. We must strengthen the cultural assets of cities, the heritage that provides a sense of meaning and identity to their inhabitants, and the creative opportunities that enhance the vitality, liveability and prosperity of our cities.
This Report would not be possible without the contributions of a number of key partners of UNESCO. In this regard, I particularly wish to thank the Government of the Kingdom of Spain and the Hangzhou Municipal People's Government, whose support for UNESCO's work in the field of culture and sustainable urban development has been instrumental in bringing this publication to fruition.
Irina Bokova | Director-General of UNESCO

Table of Contents
Part I | Global survey on the role of culture for sustainable urban development
Part II | Culture for sustainable cities: a thematic approach
Section A People Building on the power of culture to promote human and inclusive cities
Section B Environment Improving the quality of the built and natural environment through culture
Section C Policies Integrating culture in urban policies to foster sustainable urban development
Conclusions and Recommendations | Culture for transformative change in cities

New Book | Housing and Land Rights in India: Status Report for Habitat III

Housing and Land Rights in India: Status Report for Habitat III
by Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), New Delhi, 2016. ISBN: 9788190256988. 

Table of Contents
I.  | Introduction
II. | Urban Housing and Living Conditions
III.| Rural Housing, Land, and Living Conditions
IV. | Impacts of Disasters on Housing and Land
V.  | Conflict-Induced Displacement
VI. | Discrimination in Access to Housing and Land
VII.| Persecution of Housing and Land Rights Defenders
VIII.| Law and Policy Framework Related to Housing and Land
IX. | Recommendations to the Government of India
X.  | Recommendations to UN-Habitat for Habitat III
XI. | Conclusion

About the Report
Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) works for the recognition, defence, promotion, and realization of the human rights to adequate housing and land, which involves securing a safe and secure place for all individuals and communities, especially marginalized communities, to live in peace and dignity. A particular focus of HLRN's work is on promoting and protecting the equal rights of women to adequate housing, land, property, and inheritance. HLRN aims to achieve its goals through advocacy, research, human rights education, and outreach and network-building – at local, national, and international levels. This report, prepared by HLRN and endorsed by several social movements and civil society organizations across India, aims to serve as a parallel report to the Government of India's official submission to UN-Habitat for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which will be held in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. The report analyzes India's implementation of the Habitat Agenda (1996) and documents the current status of housing and land rights in the country while highlighting related law and policy developments. It presents recommendations to the Government of India for the improvement of housing and living conditions in the country, and to UN-Habitat for the development of a human rights-based 'new agenda' at Habitat III. HLRN strongly believes that nation states and UN-Habitat must not ignore the rural dimension of habitat and must ensure that the 'new agenda' focuses on adopting a comprehensive human rights approach that incorporates the principles of indivisibility of human rights, gender equality, non-discrimination, progressive realization, non-retrogression, environmental sustainability, participation, accountability, and international cooperation. HLRN hopes that this report will help draw attention to critical issues related to the realization of housing and land rights in India, and will help promote the adoption of a human rights agenda at Habitat III that integrates the commitments of the Habitat Agenda and international law and standards.

New Book | India Habitat III National Report 2016

India Habitat III National Report 2016
by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, New Delhi, India, 2016. 

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 | Urbanization and Urban-Growth-Poverty Linkages
Chapter 2 | Urban Land, Planning and Mobility
Chapter 3 | Environment and Urbanization 
Chapter 4 | Housing and Basic Services
Chapter 5 | Managing Urbanization: Structure of Urban Governance
Chapter 6 | Municipal Finance and Financial Innovations
Chapter 7 | Urban Initiatives and the New Urban Agenda

The India National Report is a sequel to resolution 24/14 of the UN Habitat Governing Council, adopted in its twenty-fourth session by which the Council invited its member states to prepare national reports on the "implementation of the Habitat-II agenda and of the other relevant internationally agreed goals and targets as well as new challenges, emerging trends, and a prospective vision for sustainable human settlements and urban development". Since the adoption of Habitat II agenda in 1996, India's urban sector has witnessed important changes, and, in many ways, has posted departures from the earlier ways of looking at urbanization in the country's growth and development processes. First, between 1996 and 2015, India has added approximately 171 million people to its urban population base. Its urban footprints have expanded to 7,933 settlements, several of which are "census towns," i.e., settlements that have the required urban characteristics but have structures of rural governance. Economic composition as represented by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has decisively changed in favour of non-primary-sector activities, especially the services sector which currently contributes over 55 per cent to the GDP. Second, between 2004–05 and 2011–12 India has lifted over 15 million persons out of poverty in the urban areas; likewise, the proportion of slum population has dipped to 17.4 per cent within a decade. Infrastructure and services now reach out to 75 per cent in case of water and 81 per cent in case of latrines. However, at the same time, challenges in the form of service deficits persist. Also, the structures of governance and financial systems have not kept pace with the changes in the demographic and economic compositions and the levels of urbanization.
India explicitly recognizes the role and importance of urbanization and cities in the process of its socio-economic transformation, and affirms its commitment to the larger goals of urban equity and eradication of poverty; inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all; productivity, competitiveness, diversification and innovation; and urban resilience. Its current approach to urbanization is focussed on several objectives: (i) urbanization must generate growth and enhance economic productivity and competitiveness; (ii) it should be inclusive and sustainable; (iii) it should aim at preservation and revitalization of history, culture and heritage; and (iv) it should contribute to the development of rural areas and strengthen ruralurban interdependencies. Consistent with these goals and objectives, the Government of India has launched a number of missions, the key ones being the Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Housing For All (HFA), Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY), and Rurban Mission. This report lays out a brief account of the state of the urban sector and the challenges and complexities it faces, and outlines the initiatives and strategies that have been taken to address these.
The India National Report consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides an assessment of the urbanization trends in the country, focussing on how the trends are being shaped, on the one hand, by domestic priorities such as the accelerated development of rural areas and the need to forge stronger urban-rural linkages, and on the other hand, by factors driven by competition between cities for improved productivity and economic vibrancy. Chapters 2-4 outline the developments and challenges in the spheres of urban land and housing market, urban environment, infrastructure and services. The governance and financing systems of cities (urban local bodies) are discussed in chapters 5 and 6, referring especially to putting in place a strong system of inter-governmental system of transfers, increased local government autonomy, a focussed use of the nascent but growing capital market for financing priority infrastructure services and the development of public-private partnership facility. Chapter 7 gives an account of the urban initiatives and a perspective vision for the new urban agenda, affirming its commitment to the new international benchmarks as embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Top Twenty Five Tweets on HabitatIII | The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. 17 - 20 October 2016, Quito, Ecuador

Top Twenty Five Tweets on HabitatIII | The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. 17 - 20 October 2016, Quito, Ecuador

  • 3.7 billion people live in cities. As the urban population continues to grow, health inequities persist #Habitat3. | ‏@WHO/ @UN
  • 54% of global population now lives in cities ↪No sustainable mobility without sustainable urban transport: #Habitat3 | ‏@WorldBank
  • 70-90% of our global food is farmed & processed by women. No women= no food= no life: #Habitat3 | @UNDP
  • 9 in 10 people breathe air that's not safe. Air Pollution, an invisible killer that we may face on a simple walk home. #BreatheLife #Habitat3 | ‏@WHO
  • Air Pollution: 92% of the world's population live in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits #Habitat3 | @WHO
  • All eyes on #Habitat3 as we move toward #NewUrbanAgenda - new global standard for sustainable urban development: | @UNPublications
  • As cities grow faster than ever, it's key they grow safely. Listen to @UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh discuss road safety. #Habitat3 | @GlobalGoalsUN
  • By 2050, 6.3 billion will live in cities & will need access to healthy, environmentally friendly food: #Habitat3 | ‏@UNEP
  • By utilizing full potential of ICT, Sustainable #SmartCities are enablers for achieving main objectives in #NewUrbanAgenda ~@ITU #Habitat3 | @ITU
  • Cities are remarkable engines of growth. Let us use their potential to transform our world for the better. --Ban Ki-moon #Habitat3 | @GlobalGoalsUN
  • Displaced fleeing besieged areas often escape to cities in #Syria. @UndpSyria provides them with jobs to rebuild health centers. #Habitat3 | @UNDP
  • Education must be integrated into urban planning to create sustainable cities #NewUrbanAgenda #Habitat3 | @GEMReport
  • Geodata can help manage social, economic, & environment|al challenges of urbanization. See how: #Habitat3 #China | @WorldBank
  • Geodata helped Johannesburg improve urban planning & public services. What can other cities learn? #Habitat3 #SouthAfrica | ‏@WorldBank
  • #Habitat3: #UN conference to agree new model of urban development that creates sustainable, equitable cities for all | @UN_News_Centre
  • #Habitat3: There's an urgency to address health disparities & their determinants in cities #UrbanHealth | @WHO
  • Health inequalities undermine progress: Over 880 million people live in slums #Habitat3 #UrbanHealth | @WHO
  • Housing shouldn't be like buying a car but instead it should be considered an investment instead of a social expense #H3UrbanTalk #Habitat3 | ‏@Habitat3UN
  • Planning cities is a critical challenge in 21st century amid mass #urbanisation, @UN says #Habitat3 @Habitat3UN | @AlertnetClimate
  • Take strong ownership of vital new agenda, create cities of the future, #UNSG Ban urges world's mayors at #Habitat3. | ‏@UN_News_Centre
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls on city mayors to "take ownership" of the #GlobalGoals. #Habitat3 | @UN
  • UN Women strongly advocates for putting Gender Equality at the heart of the New Urban Agenda at @Habitat3UN. For more follow #Habitat3 | @UNWomenIndia
  • "We recognize women as invaluable agents of change in creating cities free of violence against women and girls" #NewUrbanAgenda #Habitat3 | ‏@Habitat3UN
  • 'When shopping malls replace public space, it's a symptom that the city is ill' @guardiancities #Habitat3 | @Guardian
  • "You can't think of a city without thinking about culture because what is the DNA of a place? #Culture4Cities #Habitat3 | @UNESCO

Monday 17 October 2016

New Book | The BRICS in International Development

The BRICS in International Development
Edited by Jing Gu, Alex Shankland, and Anuradha Chenoy. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan & IDS Rising Powers, 2016, ISBN 9781137556462, Hardcover, $139.00.

About this Book
This book offers a comprehensive comparative perspective on the increasingly significant development cooperation activities of the BRICS. Providing a powerful set of insights into the drivers for engagement within each country, it brings together leading experts from Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and OECD countries. The authors review the empirical evidence for the BRICS' modes of development cooperation and their geographical reach, and explore the historical background and patterns of international development engagement of each country. They also present a cutting-edge analysis of the broader geopolitical shifts, distinctive ideologies and normative discourses that are influencing and informing their engagement in increasingly ambitious joint projects such as the New Development Bank. This collection is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the rapidly changing landscape of international development.

Table of Contents
Introduction: International Development, South-South Cooperation and the Rising Powers | Jing Gu (et al.)
Brazil as a Development Partner Under Lula and Rousseff: Shifts and Continuities | Bianca Suyama (et al.)
Russia: A Re-emerging Donor | Marina Larionova (et al.)
India: From Technical Cooperation to Trade and Investment | Anuradha Chenoy (et al.)
China on the Move: The 'New Silk Road' to International Development Cooperation? | Jing Gu (et al.)
South Africa: Security and Stability in Development Cooperation | Neuma Grobbelaar
Civil Society, BRICS and International Development Cooperation: Perspectives from India, South Africa and Brazil | Melissa Pomeroy (et al.)
Looking Across BRICS: An Emerging International Development Agenda? | Anuradha Chenoy (et al.)

Friday 7 October 2016

New Book | Development Finance in BRICS Countries

Development Finance in BRICS Countries
by Axel Harneit-Sievers, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Mark Grimsditch, Yu Yin, Mzukisi Qobo, Carlos Tautz, João Roberto Lopes Pinto, and Fabricia de Andrade Ramos. Heinrich Böll Foundation, New Delhi, 2015.

Table of Contents
Preface: Development Banking in the BRICS Countries | Axel Harneit-Sievers
Introduction: Development Banking in Comparative Perspective | C.P.Chandrasekhar
Brazil's National Bank for Social and Economic Development BNDES: A Critical Analysis | Carlos Tautz, João Roberto Lopes Pinto and Fabricia de Andrade Ramos
Development Finance in India | C. P. Chandrasekhar
Development Finance: A Review from China | Mark Grimsditch and Yu Yin
Development Banks & Civil Society in South Africa | Mzukisi Qobo

For decades, the world of development banking was dominated by a few multilateral actors, foremost the World Bank Group as well as regional development banks. In recent years, some established banks have much expanded their scope of operation, while new actors and interests are moving in. A number of national development banks, for example from China and Brazil, have entered the international arena in a big way, often operating far outside of their respective home countries and becoming truly global actors.
The BRICS group of five major emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), during the BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014, formally announced the creation of the group's own New Development Bank (NDB). China, in October 2014, launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and in May 2015, Japan announced a massive 100 billion USD financial package for an Asia infrastructure programme within the framework of the Asian Development Bank.
The new rush into development banking is going to have substantial large-scale political, socio-economic and environmental implications. At the same time, development banking, it appears, is becoming more diverse and competitive than ever. Or is it?
The very concept of "development" means different things to different people. In fact, there have been branches of development banking directed, for example, at the support of small scale farming or medium-scale businesses. But overall, it is the creation of infrastructure – and of large-scale infrastructure – which has been at the heart of development banking in the post-World War II era. The very rationale of development banking is to mobilise long-term, large scale financing for projects where other – usually private – sources of finance either do not exist or are unable or unwilling to participate due to the risks of long-term engagement.
The new and expanding institutions of development finance reflect the considerable growth of political and economic self-confidence in the emerging economies. It remains to be seen how far they will really challenge established patterns of global development banking.
In the midst of major expectations of the positive political impact of the new development finance institutions for the developing world, considerations of the kind and quality of the very "development" that these banks may contribute to have largely taken a back seat. Investment in large-scale infrastructure is necessary for economic growth; but at the same time it typically entails considerable social and ecological costs. Frequently there are manifest and severe implications, especially the displacement of local populations and the destruction of natural habitats and biodiversity.
For decades, protests and social movements in affected regions and countries have pointed to these issues, and some of them have managed to stop or modify projects. For example, since the 1990s, the number of big dam projects commissioned declined in many parts of the world, at least outside China. Local resistance and international criticism appear to have made it more difficult to construct big dams in the same manner as in decades past.
After numerous struggles, social and environmental safeguards and procedures apply to financing of infrastructure by the World Bank. Despite criticism, especially from civil society actors, about their implementation, the World Bank standards create the reference baseline against which to evaluate and debate infrastructure projects; they constitute the precondition for a degree of transparency which allows public scrutiny of the work of the world's major development finance institutions.
With growing competition within the world of development financing, existing standards and safeguards could be at risk. Competition between financing institutions could contribute to weakening them; various national development banks are far less susceptible to international pressure than the World Bank.
In this regard, critics view the ongoing revision of the World Bank safeguards with scepticism. From the perspective of social and ecological protection, it would be a tragedy if an increased diversity of actors and the stronger role of the Global South in the field of development finance, as desirable as it appears from the political perspective, resulted in a weakening and crowding out of safeguards and standards applied in decisions about infrastructure financing.
Many champions of social and environmental protection for vulnerable groups and endangered habitats feel ambivalent about the recent expansion of development banking, particularly for large-scale infrastructure development. Some question the entire development model behind large-scale infrastructure directed towards economic growth. Others focus on engagement with governments and especially the existing and newly emerging development finance institutions in order to achieve better outcomes. Non-specialist actors in the development field may wish to improve their understanding of new trends and challenges in the field of development finance and expand their engagement on this issue. As the NDB is being created by the BRICS countries, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at the practice of and experiences with development banking in each of these countries in order to understand where they are coming from and what perspective they are taking in its creation.
This volume aims to provide background information for an informed debate about development financing from the perspective of emerging economies, especially the BRICS countries. It includes five essays that address the experiences with (mostly national) development banks, showing a high degree of diversity in national policies.
In the first essay, C.P. Chandrasekhar provides an overview of the rationale and major trends in global development banking, comparing experiences and trends from emerging economies within BRICS and beyond them. The four contributions that follow look at the national experiences in each of these countries. For Brazil, Carlos Tautz, João Roberto Lopes Pinto and Fabricia de Andrade Ramos study the rise of the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) from a national to a global player, whose structures and policies many observers believe will influence the NDB created by the BRICS countries. Mark Grimsditch and Yu Yin look at the large "policy banks" created by China's government In order to promote national infrastructure expansion and China's international engagement; in terms of sheer scale, these banks have changed the world of development finance over the last two decades. C.P. Chandrasekhar looks at the decidedly different experience of India, where large-scale development banking has lost relevance; instead, public-private partnerships have been used on a large scale for infrastructure financing, with quite mixed results. Finally, Mzukisi Qobo studies the two main development banks of South Africa, with a particular focus on identifying ways to increase civil society engagement with these banks and their policies.