AsianCitiesAdapt Learning Exchange in Cochin big success!

01 November 2013


The Main Outcomes of the event are now available! Click here to download the document. 


This conference helped make policy-makers and bureaucrats aware about environmental threats to people. Let us all work together towards making our cities more resilient through a cooperation between science and governance.’ These were the final words of Mayor Tony Chammany, at the end the AsianCitiesAdapt: Learning Exchange that took place in Cochin on 30-31 October and brought together more than 100 participants from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Europe, including representatives from over 20 cities.


The workshop, inaugurated by the Mayor of Cochin, was opened with statements from the guests of honor, including Mayor Maizan Ali Manik, Male city (Maldives); Mayor Zulfikar Ali, Mongla and Mayor Shamim Al Razi, Singra (Bangladesh) and Deputy Mayor Tikender S. Panwar, from Shimla (India). Cochin Deputy Mayor, Mrs Bhadra welcomed all participants.


The workshop was co-organized by Cochin Municipal Corporation and ICLEI South Asia , as part of AsianCitiesAdapt, a project that brought together science, policy and practice to help four cities in India (Howrah, Madurai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi) and four cities in the Philippines (Baguio, Dagupan, San Fernando, Tuguegarao) to take the first steps towards developing appropriate adaptation strategies for their respective cities.


The two days of intense and interactive discussions between city representatives, scientists, practitioners and climate experts brought to light the current challenges that cities are facing, due to a changing climate, as well as a number of suggestions and solutions on how to support the cities’ climate proofing process.


Changes in governance and planning processes at all levels and a greater sense of ownership among local governments to incorporate climate adaptation perspectives came up as the main needs to facilitate the mainstreaming climate change into conventional development.


The crucial role of science in helping cities understand how climate change might affect them was unquestioned. However, the accuracy of scientific predictions are dependent on the quality of local data that is available, which can be a constraining factor.  “Scientists might not always be able to give definite answers” commented Prof Javier, from the University of the Philippines, “but uncertainty should not be a reason not to act


Communication emerged as one of the main gaps and at the same time one of the main drivers of a proper adaptation strategy.  Communication to raise awareness, as was pointed out by Mayor Manik, from Male City in the Maldives: “Our beautiful islands are threatened by sea level rise. We need to educate our people and make them aware of how they can protect themselves from climate change impacts”.  The need for greater communication between all main stakeholders, particularly between science and policy, was echoed by Deputy Mayor Mr. Tikendar Panwar, from Shimla, when he said “A much closer relationship between climate and social scientists and urban planners is needed, so that urban and economic development takes into account upcoming climate changes”.


What came out very clearly was also the need to localize climate change and link it to current issues in the city; its impacts must be communicated in a language that the common people – the first ones to suffer from them – can understand, and thus can relate to them. Co-creating the messages, tailoring them to the beneficiaries’ needs and linking them to local culture and tradition, will increase the chances of its acceptance. In support of this, as part of the Asian Cities Adapt project, ICLEI South Asia has prepared draft guidelines for Communication Strategies for Climate Change Adaptation for each of the four Indian project cities, including Kochi. These documents were circulated to the participants who were invited to provide their feedback and suggestions.


Cities are in a privileged position to become drivers of climate adaptation drivers, thanks also to the funding opportunities available, be it through international funding programmes, through self-generation of revenues or by partnering up with the private sector. Investing in adaptation measures is good for business, as addressing a potential risk now will help saving considerable damage-related costs later.


The relevance of the discussions over the last two days and the need for such opportunities for sharing of information and best practices among cities was summed up by Mayor Shamim Ali Razi, Singra Municipality, Bangladesh “I will take back the learning from this workshop to my community and work with them to make the city of Singra more resilient.


(To find the PPTs, scroll until the end of the page)


AsianCitiesAdapt Learning Exchange in the news: newspaper clippings

The New Indian Express, 30 October 2013

Deccan Chronicle, 31 October 2013

The New Indian Express, 31 October 2013 

The Hindu Kochi, 1 November 2013

Deccan Chronicle, 1 November 2013

The New Indian Express, 1 November 2013



Report from day 1 – More than 100 participants discuss adaptation challenges and solutions at AsianCitiesAdapt Learning Exchange in Cochin

There were more than 100 people this morning at the Abad Plaza, when H. W. Mayor Toni Chammany officially welcomed the participants of the AsianCitiesAdapt Learning Exchange coming from Europe, the Philippines and all over South Asia and India.

On the first day of the workshop, the several cities present shared their experience with scientists and other experts and discussed what challenges cities are now facing, due to the changing climate, and what solutions are available or have yet to be found to help cities deal with these impacts. The different perspectives and experiences shared by the participants led to a number of clear messages:

The workshop will continue on Thursday 31 October, with a session on Complementary Aspects of Climate Adaptation planning and a panel discussion on Operationalizing Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia.



Cities from South Asia come together in Cochin to discuss adaptation to climate change


Twenty cities from all around South Asia are coming together today in Cochin to learn from each other on the issue of adaptation to climate change at the AsianCitiesAdapt: Learning Exchange, co-organized by ICLEI South Asia and Cochin Municipal Corporation.


The workshop, taking place on 30-31 October 2013, will gather an impressive line-up of high level local representatives from India, the Philippines, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal, who will be discussing solutions on how cities can adapt to climate change, together with climate experts and other practitioners from India, Southeast Asia and Europe. Dignitaries include Mayor Maizan Ali Manik, Male city (Maldives); Mayor Zulfikar Ali, Mongla and Mayor Shamim Al Razi, Singra (Bangladesh) and Deputy Mayor Tikender S Panwar, from Shimla (India).


With the recently released 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment confirming that climate change is a reality and an increase in temperature and sea level is therefore unavoidable, cities in Asia – one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change – must act, and must do so fast. Many of the cities attending the workshop have already witnessed the impacts of changing weather patterns – the workshop will provide them with lessons and other approaches and experiences to better understand consequences and identify suitable local responses. Researchers from internationally renowned institutions (such as the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the German Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) as well as experts working in the region (such as GIZ – the German Cooperation Agency, Cities Development Initiatives for Asia, ICRIER, TARU, IIT Delhi, BBC Media Action and) will offer different perspectives on the issue, presenting the latest research findings and current initiatives.


The workshop is part of “AsianCitiesAdapt – Impacts of Climate Change in Target Cities in India and the Philippines and Local Adaptation Strategies”, a project that brought together science, policy and practice to help four cities in India (Howrah, Madurai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi) and four cities in the Philippines (Baguio, Dagupan, San Fernando, Tuguegarao) take the first steps towards developing an appropriate adaptation strategy. The project was implemented with the support from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Government of Germany, through their International Climate Initiative.


Follow live updates on


Final programme: click here.


Day 1

Session 1Inauguration & Introduction to the AsianCitiesAdapt (ACA) project                        


Session 2 – Scientific Climate Analysis for Cities: Learning from ACA Cities


Session 3 – Climate Change Adaptation Planning: Experiences from ACA cities


Session 4 – Learning from other Climate Change Initiatives in India     


 Day 2

Session 6 – Insights into Complementary Aspects of Climate Adaptation Planning



AsianCitiesAdapt Learning Exchange in Cochin big success!
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