WRI established its India office in 2011. We work with leaders in business, government, and civil society to expand clean energy development, combat climate change, and develop sustainable transport solutions. Learn more about our work in India. Visit the WRI India website.
Positive change is happening in cities, but it’s often lost in a sea of bad news about air pollution, rising costs of living and traffic jams. Projects from Dar es Salaam, Medellín, Pune and more provide inspiration.
Protecting forests from degradation, deforestation and fragmentation, and tree-based landscape restoration are globally recognised as cost-effective solutions for combatting climate change. As part of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris climate agreement, India committed...
With WRI’s help, people in African, Asian and Latin American cities can get around more safely and sustainably because walking, biking and public transport are now easier and more accessible. Together, these changes contribute to progress on Sustainable Development Goal 11, which aims to improve access to public space and sustainable transport, reduce road deaths and promote active living.
Many cities across the world are built for cars instead of pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users, reducing access to schools, jobs and physical activity. The lack of sound urban infrastructure can be deadly: 1.25 million people die in traffic crashes each year. One key to improving road safety is to support coordination, communication and exchange of perspectives among stakeholders and decision-makers in such areas as transport, planning, education, health and traffic enforcement.
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities helps cities in low- and middle-income countries improve planning, policy and design to make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Our support includes reports and guidance documents, as well workshops and training to improve capacity and coordination. For example, WRI and partners have advised Indian cities on India’s first fully-automated public bike-sharing system. WRI also helped expand car-free Raahgiri Days to neighborhoods in 40 cities across India.
With support from WRI, over 10 cities changed street design to enhance walking and cycling and improve access to public transport. For example, there are new bicycle lanes in Fortaleza, Brazil and Bogotá, Colombia; new pedestrian infrastructure in Mumbai, India, and Accra, Ghana, new measures to reduce traffic speeds in Bogotá and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and expanded public spaces in Bandung, Indonesia. Bogotá has adopted a Vision Zero Road Safety Strategy, while in India, WRI supported the expansion of public bike-sharing from one city in 2017 to more than 15 cities in 2018. In Fortaleza, traffic deaths dropped by 40% from 2014 to 2018. In India, the state of Haryana directed all districts to initiate Raahgiri Days in their district capitals, helping to create demand for safer walking and cycling infrastructure. By the end of 2018, 800,000 people in Haryana had taken part in a WRI India-supported Raahgiri Day.
With detailed input from WRI India, the south Indian state of Karnataka launched its vision for sustainable, inclusive urban development, known as Nava Karnataka 2025. The vision provides a roadmap to address the urban development needs of the entire state with a focus on Bengaluru, its largest city.
Karnataka is home to over 60 million people, with an estimated 10 million living in Bengaluru. Challenges include sprawl, rising poverty, inadequate and unequal access to basic services and outdated laws—all compounded by a lack of capacity to manage rapid urban growth.
In 2015, Bengaluru invited WRI India to provide technical inputs on planning, policy and governance for the city. Over the next two years WRI provided input to an influential Bengaluru Municipal Restructuring Committee. Assistance included helping city departments use a common spatial database, procure land through an area development approach, and establish short-, medium- and long-term planning goals. In 2017, Karnataka invited WRI and the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy to assist in framing chapters on urban development, infrastructure, transport, and energy of the Nava Karnataka 2025, a blueprint for the state. To inform its input, WRI jointly convened workshops with government officials, technical experts, NGOs and the public. WRI’s submission on Urban and Economic Development and Transport and Energy emphasized four essentials: urban and economic development for all, resilient growth strategies, good governance and universal access to basic services.
In March 2018, Karnataka’s chief minister released the final Nava Karnataka 2025, an ambitious development roadmap focused on Bengaluru. The plan proposes reforms and key projects to promote comprehensive regional economic development, resilient growth strategies in harmony with natural resources, good governance and equal access to infrastructure and services. WRI’s input to the Bengaluru Municipal Restructuring Committee resulted in a proposed Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill that would replace outdated urban planning legislation. Building on this work, policy reviews for water pricing and wastewater reuse, and a transit-oriented development and mixed-use focus in the upcoming Bengaluru City Master Plan will go a long way to meeting the dynamic needs of this city of 10 million.
Global Forest Watch, a powerful WRI tool to track and reduce tree cover loss, is now available in the field through a new mobile app called Forest Watcher, helping park rangers, villagers, and civil society groups find and halt illegal deforestation in tropical forest countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Cameroon and Uganda.
Tropical tree cover loss has risen steadily over the past two decades as the demand for agricultural and pasture land increases. It is hard to prevent because it often happens in remote areas where officials and other forest protectors can’t see it. Often people working to stop forest clearing lack the internet connection they need to access satellite forest data. Forest managers may need days, weeks or even months to discover where illegal deforestation is occurring—too late to catch the perpetrators and hold them accountable.
Created in 2016 as the pilot of WRI, the Jane Goodall Institute, Google and the National Forestry Authority in Uganda, Forest Watcher is a mobile application that allows easy, offline access to information about forest change based on annual tree cover loss data from Global Forest Watch. Now, with the incorporation of WRI’s GLAD (Global Land Analysis & Discovery) alerts developed with the University of Maryland, forest managers in the field have access to high-resolution, quickly available data to pinpoint where deforestation is happening. WRI and local partner organizations trained forest managers, including law enforcement officers and members of indigenous communities, to use these powerful tools. This latest version of Forest Watcher has been downloaded over 6,000 times as of 2018. Many users are in important tropical forest countries including Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Paraguay, Peru and Uganda.
In 2018, Forest Watcher and GLAD alerts resulted in interdictions and arrests for illegal deforestation. In Indonesia, more than 2,400 instances of illegal logging were documented, and government authorities successfully prosecuted 50 cases of illegal logging. In the Brazilian Amazon, where just a dozen police patrol a forest the size of Nepal, officers used WRI tools and worked with local communities to identify priority areas and arrest people illegally clearing forests. In Peru, a Quechua community used Forest Watcher and GLAD alerts to discover a clandestine coca plantation on their land. They used WRI tools featuring satellite evidence of the deforestation to confront the perpetrators, who ultimately ceased their activity.
With WRI Brasil help, city officials and civic groups in Fortaleza, Brazil, turned a parking and traffic lanes into a pedestrian plaza. Strongly positive public feedback has led to similar projects in other areas. Photo by Rodrigo Capote/WRI Brasil
A street in Bangalore, the largest city in Karnataka state, which is home to some 60 million people. WRI India helped craft the state’s Nava Karnataka 2025 plan, which addresses problems such as sprawl, poverty. Photo by Ryan ruffin_ready/Flickr
India will face considerable and varied climate change impacts in the coming decades. The country has a large population with high poverty and low adaptive capacity, heavy dependence on climate-sensitive sectors, and is likely to face negative climate change impacts. These factors make...