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Global River Cities Alliance Launched at COP28 to Transform River Conservation and Sustainable Water Management

The launch of Global River Cities Alliance at COP28 marks a historic milestone in the global fight against climate change and sets the stage for transformative actions in river conservation and sustainable water management.

Shivam Dwivedi
Global River Cities Alliance Launched at COP28 to Transform River Conservation and Sustainable Water Management (Photo Source: PIB)
Global River Cities Alliance Launched at COP28 to Transform River Conservation and Sustainable Water Management (Photo Source: PIB)

In a historic move at COP28, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Global River Cities Alliance (GRCA) was officially launched, marking a groundbreaking collaboration led by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India.

The alliance, comprising countries such as India, Egypt, Netherlands, Denmark, Ghana, Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Japan, and river-cities including The Hague (Den Haag), Adelaide, and Szolnok, aims to unite global efforts for river conservation and sustainable water management.

The initiative, a significant expansion of the River Cities Alliance (RCA) established in 2021 by NMCG in association with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), now covers 275+ river-cities across 11 countries, international funding agencies, and knowledge management partners. This makes GRCA the first-of-its-kind alliance on a global scale.

The launch event, attended by representatives from partner countries and international organizations, featured a video message from Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. He highlighted the visionary goal of integrating urban water management into Urban Planning and viewed the launch of GRCA as a monumental stride in global endeavors against climate change. Shekhawat emphasized India's crucial role in sustainable river-centric development and reiterated strong support for climate action.

G Asok Kumar, Special Secretary & Director General of NMCG, emphasized India's pioneering initiatives in water and sanitation sectors, including the Namami Gange program and the launch of the 'Jal Jeevan Mission.' He presented the framework of urban river management plans (URMPs) and positioned GRCA as a unique platform for knowledge exchange, river-city twinning, and the dissemination of best practices.

Sadhguru of the Isha Foundation addressed the event, stressing the impact of climate change on water, particularly rivers. He advocated for tree plantation and public participation in river conservation, citing his ‘Rally for Rivers’ initiative. Sadhguru highlighted the need for dedicated businesses focused on sewage processing and efficient wastewater management.

Global leaders from the Netherlands, Egypt, Denmark, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, Australia, Ghana, and the Netherlands emphasized the urgency for secure water supplies and sanitation worldwide through GRCA. They expressed hope for increased collaboration within the alliance and emphasized the importance of aligning with Indian cities for mutual learning.

Multilateral institutions, including The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, applauded the initiative and pledged their full support. Discussions at the event emphasized the need for enhanced water security through funding and technical assistance, particularly in sanitation, irrigation, and building resilience against natural disasters.

Mr. Sumouleendra Ghosh (Global Water Lead & Partner at KPMG) and Dr. Debolina Kundu, Director, NIUA, underlined the holistic approach of GRCA in addressing climate change, urban development, and water security. Their collective commitment aims to propel sustainable initiatives, knowledge sharing, and collaborative efforts for a resilient global water future.

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