New Delhi:

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday launched a framework which provides a roadmap for cities to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development.

The Union housing and urban affairs minister also launched ''Streets for People Challenge'', which aims to inspire cities to create walking-friendly and vibrant streets through quick, innovative, and low-cost measures in response to COVID-19. 

At a virtual event, after launching ''Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework 2.0(CSCAF.'', Puri said, "It is estimated that climate change will impact the Indian GDP by 2-6 per cent on an annual basis. 

"This means that our future development goals and investments will also be severely affected if we do not address climate risks now."

‚ÄčThis assessment framework was developed after review of existing frameworks and assessment approaches adopted throughout the world followed by series of extensive consultative process with more than 26 organizations and 60 experts from different thematic areas. The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely; (i) Energy and Green Buildings, (ii) Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity, (iii) Mobility and Air Quality, (iv) Water Management and (v) Waste Management. The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.

A ministry statement quoting him said in the last decade, an increased frequency of cyclones, floods, heatwaves, water scarcity and drought-like conditions have been observed, which have had adverse impacts on many of cities.

This initiative is not only a ranking exercise but intends to impart a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India, he said. 

"Building climate resilience is a continuous process and not a one-time activity. With that objective, we are now going to take forward this exercise as an annual activity, as part which I am happy to launch the CSCAF 2.0 today," the Union minister said.

Elaborating about the ''Streets for People Challenge'', he said it aims to inspire Indian cities to create walking-friendly streets through quick, innovative and low-cost measures in response to COVID-19 in collaboration with their citizens and assistance from experts.

"Increasing motorisation and lack of adequate infrastructure for walking and cycling has not only made our streets unsafe and inequitable but also given rise to many negative externalities such as dependence on fossil fuels, GHG emissions, congestion, pollution and the associated health impact," he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also presented the need for physical distancing while moving through the city and accessing essential services, he said.

Puri added that cities around the world have responded by transforming streets for walking and cycling to ensure safe mobility during