With the objective of strengthening resilience of various systems particularly schools in vulnerable areas, Sphere India in partnership with UNICEF India, Department of School Education in Jammu & Kashmir, India is hosting a Virtual Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) on 28 April 2023. The UTC will be held in collaboration with Resilient Urban Planning and Development (RUPD) GbR, Mannheim Municipality in Germany, ELFA International, and Miyamoto International in India.

The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) is an initiative of the World Urban Campaign driven by UN-Habitat, conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals, and decision-makers for positive urban transformation. 

The UTC aims to identify and implement effective strategies to enhance the resilience of school buildings, which are vital infrastructure in the region, to extreme weather events. The campus will address various hazards in the Himalayan Regions, increase awareness of the impact of extreme weather events on vulnerable populations, and promote multi-stakeholder engagement to foster innovative solutions that effectively address challenges. Moreover, the UTC will develop a 10-year Road Map collaboratively to strengthen the resilience of school buildings, build the capacity of vulnerable populations to extreme weather events, and mobilize support for action. In addition, the UTC will bring together multiple partners from Germany and India to foster joint initiatives between cities to tackle shared challenges, such as sharing resources, knowledge, expertise, or collaborating on specific projects. Through city-to-city learning, the UTC will facilitate the exchange of best practices, ideas, knowledge, and resources, enhancing their policies and programs.

The UTC is closely aligned with the New Urban Agenda as it brings together various partners and engages multiple stakeholders to raise awareness and develop innovative solutions to increase the resilience of infrastructure and capacity of target groups. The outcome of the campus will focus on promoting environmentally safe and sustainable practices, and making the Jammu and Kashmir region more resilient to natural disasters and climate change. This effort will contribute to achieving several SDGs, including SDG 3 (Good Health & Wellbeing), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 9 (Industry & Innovation), SDG 11 (Inclusive, Safe and Resilient Cities), SDG 13 (Climate Action), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for Sustainable Development). The UTC also aligns with “The City We Need” initiative, which is a global campaign that aims to promote sustainable urban development and support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The UTC’s focus on increasing resilience and promoting sustainable practices in Jammu and Kashmir is in line with the principles of “The City We Need” initiative. Specifically, the UTC’s efforts contribute to Principle 3 of the initiative, which calls for cities to promote environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development.

Key Discussion Points for URBAN LAB 1 and URBAN LAB 2

  • Highlight the major concerns in managing natural disasters and climate change and raise awareness
  • Highlight the quality of architectural and structural design (school buildings) and urban infrastructure to the extreme local climatic conditions
  • Highlight the effects of disasters on vulnerable people, infrastructure and areas 
  • Discuss the obstacles and barriers in implementing new strategies on the ground like lack of technical knowledge and skills, technological barriers, legal and institutional barriers, insufficient financial resources, etc.
  • Highlight the climate impact adaptation in Himalayan Region and Germany with an emphasis on the innovative and resilient solutions to tackle the challenges
  • Discuss good practices and experiences to learn from each other
  • Identify existing barriers and obstacles, and find ways to overcome them through global partnerships, such as technology transfer, knowledge and skills sharing, capacity building, fundraising, etc.

The expected output of thus event is developing a 10-year Road Map for strengthening resilience of school buildings and capacity-building of vulnerable populations to extreme weather events and Foster joint initiatives between cities to tackle shared challenges, such as sharing resources, knowledge, expertise, or collaborating on specific projects

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