BRICS urban development conclave in Mumbai from April 14

Mumbai, April 8 (IANS) A three-day BRICS Friendship Cities Conclave with the theme ‘Urban Development & Future of Cities in BRICS Countries’, will open here on April 14, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday.

The conclave is jointly organised by think tank Mumbai First, and the state government, with support from BRICS countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With urbanisation posing a mega-challenge for cities globally, cities in developing countries face a common set of challenges and the conference will provide a platform for 75 governors, city leaders, urban planners, ministers and experts from BRICS nations to deliberate and learnt from each other’s experiences.

“With increasing urbanisation, this will be a great platform to debate and exchange solutions and ideas from cities around the world,” Fadnavis said.

The topics for discussions will include strengthening urban governance, making BRICS cities inclusive, making cities safe and secure, urban transport, fixing the nerve centre of cities to shift to transit-oriented development, city infrastructure financing, building sustainable cities to improve delivery of urban services, making sustainable and affordable housing a reality and maximizing value through efficient land-use and urban planning, he added.

Fadnavis said the conclave will put into reality the vision and dream outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit in Brazil in 2014, focusing on importance of engagement between states, cities, local bodies and ‘people to people’.

At the BRICS Summit in Russia in 2015, Modi specifically emphases the importance of close cooperation between the member-nations, and included a forum of state-local government governments from among the BRICS countries, and coopeation among cities in urbanisation.

India has taken over the BRICS presidency for one year from February 2016 and the upcoming conclave is the first major activity, with Mumbai being the commercial capital of India and best example of development, connectivity, infrastructure, and varied cultures.

To mark the conclave, a special book ‘Making of Vibrant BRICS Cities’ will be released which has contribution on urban challenges from 35 experts around the world.

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, Fadnavis and other dignitaries shall be present at the inauguration on April 14, and Rao will release a special stamp cover on the occasion.

The BRICS countries, along with some of the other developing countries like Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey account for 50 percent of the world’s urban population and are expected to attract substantive capital investment for the infrastructure worth trillions of dollars which will be built.

Mumbai First was created in 1995 with the initiative of Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry with the participation of Tatas, Godrej, Mahindras, Hindustan Lever, Asian Paints, SBI, ICICI, HDFC and others.

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