Indo-German Forum: Cities and Climate

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The annual Indo-German Forum of the DWIH New Delhi, to be held in March 2020, will address the multifaceted topic of urbanization and climate-change. The Forum will bring together German and Indian scientists, decision-makers and professionals from different disciplines to present research projects and analysis on the relationship of cities and climate. Among other things, the Forum will address the questions how cities adapt to climate-change and how urban settlements can minimize their environmental impacts.

Event Information

March 16 to 17, 2020

New Delhi
Organizer: DWIH New Delhi

Why cities and climate?

Cities and climate-change are interdependent. By 2050, urban population will increase by 2 billion people, and about 68 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas. Thus, a rapid growth of urban settlements and megacities is evident. One of the challenges arising from such rapid urbanization is the amplifying impact of cities on climate-change. While globally, cities occupy only 3 percent of the Earth’s land, they account for 60 to 80 percent of energy consumption and at least 70 percent of carbon emissions, a number that is expected to grow further. In turn, cities are facing the consequences of climate-change, such as scarcity of water, vulnerability to extreme weather events and warming of the cityscapes.

Two out of the 14 sustainable development goals (SDGs) formulated by the United Nations General Assembly address sustainable urban development and climate-change and call for immediate action. The enhancement of sustainable urbanization, including integrated policies and action toward resource efficiency, adaptation to climate-change and reduction of cities’ environmental impact is high on the political agenda. Germany and India have several projects in this regard as well and have recently announced a cooperation on green urban mobility in India.

What to expect?

The two-day event will offer insights from ongoing research projects and showcase practical initiatives in the field of Cities and Climate. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss challenges, exchange ideas and network with experts and stakeholders from India and Germany.

Key topics to be covered:

Climate science on the role of cities, and climate strategies for cities

This panel will address the Forum’s main hypothesis, viz. the close relationship between cities and climate. In its first part, it will discuss current findings from relevant scientific disciplines such as earth systems science and geography. Its second part is dedicated to urban strategies of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, showcasing examples from India and Germany.

Air quality in cities

A major factor of the quality of life in cities is the quality of their air. In light of rising levels of air pollution in many metropolitan areas throughout the world, it is no surprise that air quality has become a focus of scientific as well as practical and political concern. The panel will discuss causes and individual sources of air pollution in cities, consequences for citizens’ health and well-being, as well as ways to combat the problem. A particular focus will lie on issues of measurement and data collection.

Urban water bodies and their management

Climate change brings with it different sorts of hazards and stresses in the field of water. On the one hand, many regions – among them many cities – face increasing water scarcity. On the other hand, extreme rainfalls lead to inundations with rising frequency. Some cities face both problems at the same time. Water management thus becomes a prime concern for today’s cities. This panel will aim for a better understanding of the relevant issues and discuss practical strategies of dealing with them. A special emphasis will be on the use of digital – particularly AI – technology in water body management.

Green building(s) for today’s cities

The buildings in which we live, and the way we construct them, have obvious environmental impacts. Any comprehensive urban climate strategy will have to address these issues. This session will discuss both sustainable ways of planning and constructing urban infrastructure, and the kind of infrastructure climate-sensitive cities and citizens should aim for. In its discussion, the panel aims for an appreciation of both traditional know-how and modern technologies.

Coastal cities and climate change

Coastal cities face particular threats related to climate-change, from violent storm surges to the predicted overall rise of the sea-level. The threats are of prime importance, as half of the world population lives in coastal regions and a high and rising share of this half lives in urban settlements. This panel will discuss both relevant climate science issues and social matters such as displacement, migration and new forms of precariousness.

Citizen involvement in policy and science

If cities are to react to climate change in a meaningful way, they cannot do this without their citizens. This panel will address ways of involving citizens in urban strategies, and consequences of citizen participation both at the level of overall policy and at the level of individual behaviour. It will also address the issue of citizen participation in relevant scientific projects and its epistemic promises – as well as its limits.

What else?

Meet the DWIH New Delhi supporter organizations and find out how to fund your research stay or research project. In a dedicated area, participants will have the opportunity to talk to representatives of German institutions and funding organisations.


The working language of the Forum will be English.


Participation is free of cost, but a prior registration (opening soon) will be necessary