Financing cities: G20 infrastructure agenda

Source: The post is based on the article Financing cities: G20 infrastructure agenda” published in Business Standard on 1st September 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Disaster Management, Infrastructure

Relevance: measures needed to build inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities

News: Indian cities are important for economic growth. Sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience should be the central focus in city development to ensure a sustained economic growth.

In this regard, India is prioritizing urban infrastructure during its 2023 G20 presidency with the theme “Financing Cities of Tomorrow: Sustainable, Inclusive, and Resilient” for the G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG).

What are inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities?

Inclusive cities rely on equitable access to resources and opportunities, requiring national policies, accessible urban spaces, affordable housing, and essential services.

Resilient cities withstand environmental and economic shocks by having high-quality infrastructure that promotes climate resilience and energy efficiency, making it a top priority.

Sustainability incorporates principles like the efficient use of limited natural resources, circularity, and LiFE.

What are the factors required in building inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities?

Financing: The G20 IWG offers a global platform for implementing innovative urban infrastructure financing mechanisms across developed and developing nations.

Public funds play a major role in global urban infrastructure financing, but there’s a crucial need to attract private investment.

This can be accomplished through strategic planning, favorable policies, enhancing city creditworthiness, project development, thematic bonds, and strengthening capital markets.

National and sub-national governments and multilateral development banks should play a key role in achieving these objectives. 

Institutional Capacity: City administrations must enhance their capabilities for future urban demands, including technical and financial capacity to plan, create viable projects, generate and protect revenues, access financial markets, provide efficient services, etc.

Digital infrastructure and data-driven insights are crucial for enabling these improvements.

In order to assist city administrations, India’s G20 presidency created a versatile capacity-building framework suitable for local governments of all sizes and developmental stages.

It includes tools, checklists, and case studies for assessing current capacity and identifying improvement areas. It aligns with national development plans, legal frameworks, urban planning guidelines, climate adaptation plans, PPP guidelines, etc.

Must Read: G20 and its Significance – Explained and India’s G20 presidency can show the way on disaster management

What contribution has been made by India at IWG?

India contributed significantly to the outcomes of the IWG by sharing its policy and programs in urban development.

Some of these include Ahmedabad’s Transit-Oriented Development, the Integrated Control and Command Centre under the Smart City Mission, etc.

India’s experience in implementing the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart Cities Mission, Housing for All (PMAY), and metro rail projects were also instrumental in shaping the global urban infrastructure agenda.

What is the way ahead?

India’s G20 presidency influenced the IWG urban infrastructure agenda to align with the ambitions and growth priorities of the Global South.

India’s focus on inclusive, resilient, and sustainable cities fostered global partnerships and contributed to shared prosperity.

Therefore, domestically, India will prioritize a people-centric approach in developing future-ready urban infrastructure as it works towards the vision of India@2047.

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