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New Delhi, Dec 12 – The landmark ‘Global River Cities Alliance’ (GRCA) was launched at COP-28 in Dubai by representatives of nine countries led by India, the National Institute of Urban Affairs said on Monday.

The GRCA is modelled on the lines of India’s River Cities Alliance established by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in November 2021.
The River Cities Alliance currently has 142 river cities in India and serves as a dedicated platform for members to have concerted discussions on aspects related to enhancing the state of urban rivers within their administrative boundaries, the National Institute of Urban Affairs said in a statement.

The GRCA is India’s endeavour to scale up the concept of collaborative knowledge sharing to facilitate the transfer of good experiences from one part of the world to another, it said.

The launch of the GRCA took place recently in the Indian Pavilion at COP 28. Three central level national ministers for water resources, Prof. Dr. Hani Swilam the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Government of Egypt, Mark Harbers the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Government of Netherlands and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat the Minister for Jal Shakti, Government of India who made a virtual address, were present on the occasion, the statement said.

On behalf of the Indian government, G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, Ministry of Jal Shakti convened the session.

\\\\Speaking at the occasion, G. Asok Kumar said, “The launch of the GRCA with the support of member countries is a testament to the fact that river management is a matter of global interest. India is happy to lead the efforts in this direction”.

The other countries who committed their support for the GRCA included Denmark, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, Australia, Netherlands, and Ghana.

The event also featured the participation of multi-lateral banks including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank pledged their support for the GRCA.

NMCG and NIUA will take on the role of the Secretariat of the GRCA to generate the initial momentum of the Alliance activities which will include knowledge exchange, capacity development, high-level advocacy, and bilateral interactions among member cities, it added.

Dr. Debolina Kundu, Director, NIUA highlighted the river-climate change connection in her remarks, “The launch comes at a very opportune occasion, COP-28. This is because it is now well established that healthy rivers are vital for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Hence, investments in healthy rivers have a direct bearing on addressing one of the greatest challenges of climate change facing humankind today.”