Efforts to bring resilience to urban informalities in Asia conclude

With support from Misereor, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability South Asia undertook a project on climate resilience in the informal settlements in four cities of three countries (two in India, one each in the Philippines and Indonesia). The project methodology comprised of a mix of research work to understand the present situation and develop the problem statements, and innovative thinking to develop solutions baskets, along with pilot implementation two of the four project cities.

Development of Problem Statements

Detailed study of the linkages between the informal settlements and climate resilience was carried in Bidhannagar and Nashik in India, Denpasar in Indonesia, and Quezon city in The Philippines. Key personnel interviews and focus group discussions were carried out with the residents of the identified slums in these cities as well as with the city government officials. The problems faced by the informal settlement dwellers were classified into – physical, economic, social and governance related. Based on the same, city-specific problem statements that provide an insight into the present conditions, with regard to the informal settlements and climate resilience, have been developed. These were presented in a dedicated session in Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific (RCAP) 2016, held in Melaka, Malaysia in March 2016.

Solution Baskets

Based on outcomes of the discussions held on during RCAP 2016, along with inputs received during the field work, another session was organised at the same platform (RCAP 2016) to develop solution baskets. The session saw subject matter specialists, city government officials, international experts and community representatives to discuss the possible solutions. Success stories from different parts of Asia-Pacific were also presented. Following intensive discussions, solution baskets for each city have been developed.

Bio toilets and urban farming: pilots in two cities

Implementation of a pilot was undertaken in Nashik and Quezon city. In slums of Nashik, requirement of sanitation facilities was identified as an immediate need that would help to build resilience of dwellers of informal settlements. Bio-toilets (an eco-friendly mode of waste management) were established in Amrapalli and Phule Nagar slums of the city.

For this, community members have been trained to regularly maintain the same. The initiative has drawn high level of appreciation from Nashik Municipal Corporation, and the city authorities have decided to scale up the work and establish bio-toilets in other slum areas in the city as well, with technical support from ICLEI South Asia.

Urban farming was taken up as the pilot initiative in Quezon city where community members have been trained for all aspects of community framing — field preparation, sowing and planting, cultivation and harvest. Three community urban gardens have been established in Asprer, in Quezon city through the initiative and. have been handed over to the community members who are collectively running the gardens successfully. Seeing the success of the pilot project, the city administration has decided to replicate the urban farming initiative in other Baranguays or the the smallest administrative division in the Philippines with assistance from ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability and the Asprer community under the “Joy of Urban Farming” project.

An urban farm in Quezon city

Both the pilot projects have thus tasted success and will now be scaled up by the city authorities, with support from ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability.

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