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Partnership with
the European Union

City Networking

Conference Feb 26 - 28 '02

Roving Exhibitions '02

Exhibitions in Europe '02

 

Asia Urbs -- linking Auroville with Europe

The European Commission in Brussels, capital of the European Union, launched a few years ago a new programme under the name Asia Urbs. The programme is designed to encourage Asian and European cities to work together on urban pilot projects, with the overall aim of promoting co-operation and assisting cities to strengthen their urban management capacity.

 

In 1998, Auroville explored the possibility of obtaining support from the European Commission under this programme. After a long process, which involved a 3-day visit of the Programme Director to Auroville, the European Union recognised Auroville as a municipality and, consequently, as an eligible partner. This finally resulted in a collaboration agreement, which was signed with the European Commission in 2001, involving the cities of Venice (Italy) and Köln (Germany) as project partners.

With funding from the European Commission, the 2-year project will commence in April 2001 with the creation of an Innovative Urban Management Facility in Auroville. Apart from office spaces, the building will include a conference room, a multimedia centre-cum-library, and a resource centre for documentation on urbanisation, town planning, sustainable city development, and urban challenges in Asia and elsewhere.

After completion of the building, a series of workshops and conferences on water management, alternative transport, traffic management, energy planning and renewable energy will be organised and attended by specialists from Köln and Venice. A workshop on waste management will also be held in Köln, and an exhibition on Auroville in Venice.

In addition, the Auroville Perspective Master Plan 2000-2025 that was recently approved by the Government of India, will be elaborated in a detailed 5-year Development Plan with the help of experts from Venice and Cologne, and Indian town planners and architects. A municipal energy plan for a population of 50,000 people will be prepared, and a pre-feasibility study on watershed management in the Auroville area will be made in collaboration with international consultants, together with a plan for the installation of various decentralised wastewater treatment plants. The equipment of the Auroville Solar Service will be upgraded, and the laboratory of Auroville's Water Service will be substantially improved for testing water, soil and food contamination in the wells throughout the 120 sq. km bioregion, which directly affect the living standards of some 70,000 people. Finally, urban green work will be carried out with the creation of parks, green corridors and avenue trees in the city area; and the development of the landscape, including catchment ponds and check-dams to minimise water run-off throughout the township area.

 

City Networking

 - linking Auroville with European and Indian Cities

Networking with European cities started a few years ago in Auroville on a small scale, when members of AVI Spain contacted the city of Pamplona and the region of Navarra (Spain). As a result, the Government of Navarra and the municipality of Pamplona are now supporting health care and water supply projects in Auroville's neighbouring villages with an annual budget.

More recently, contacts were made with the municipalities of Ancona, Bologna, Ferrara, Firenze, Milano, Rome, Treviso and Venice in Italy, Lyon, Orleans, Paris, Poitiers and Strasbourg in France, Bent in England, Almere and Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Köln in Germany.

In February 2001 a second project, called "City Networking for Sustainable Development and Human Unity", was presented to the European Commission for funding under the Asia Urbs programme in partnership with Venice, Paris, and the Province of Treviso in Italy.

The scope of the project is to provide opportunities for sharing experiences, resources and information in the field of sustainable urban management and cultural integration. The project targets Asia-Urbs project holders, cities in the European Union, Indian metropolitan cities and medium-sized towns, NGOs and professional associations in India and Europe.

For this purpose, an international conference on "Sustainable Urban Development and Cultural and Human Integration" will be organised in Auroville in 2002. The project also includes the establishment in Auroville of a full-fledged resource and city networking service centre. A data base of EU and Indian cities will be set up as an information tool for European, Indian and South-Asian cities, interested in decentralised cooperation.

To further promote city networking between Auroville, India and Europe the following activities are envisaged under the project:

  • Press presentations of the project in Paris, Venice and India.

  • Design of a city networking Website dedicated to the project.

  • A roving exhibition, displaying the best practices in the field of urban sustainable development and cultural integration in Asia and Europe. Exhibitions will be held in Paris, Venice, Treviso, Auroville, and at least in three other Indian cities.

  • A bimonthly newsletter for circulation to government officers, Embassies & Consulates, government institutions, NGOs, universities, research centres, professional associations, publishers and magazines in India and Europe.

  • A brochure with the proceedings of the international conference will be published in 3000 copies and distributed to the participants, and other target groups of the project.
    Click here for a progress report of September '01.

 

 

Visit of European Union Ambassador

Towards the end of March 2001, Auroville received the visit of Mr. Caillouët, the European Union Ambassador - Head of the Delegation of the European Union in India, Nepal and Bhutan. The visit coincided with the vernal equinox and the first World Day of Planetary Consciousness.

After a dawn gathering marking the World Day of Planetary Consciousness, the Ambassador attended the foundation stone ceremony for the new Town Hall Annex that will include the Innovative Urban Management Facility, funded by the European commission under the Asia Urbs programme.

20th March 2001 - 9:00 a.m. 1st stone ceremony Town Hall Annex building.
Mr. Caillouët, European Union Ambassador - Head of Delegation, with Aurovilian Luigi, Asia Urbs coordinator lighting the flame at the construction site in the presence of members of the Auroville Governing Board and other invitees.

Afterwards, the Ambassador, seated at a central table covered with the European Union flag and a bowl of lotus flowers on top, symbolising the link between Europe and India, listened to a series of short presentations on various EC projects in Auroville.

Presentations included:

  • The restoration of the original Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest over a large area surrounding Auroville, in a shared project involving the Tamil Nadu Forestry Department and Pondicherry Public Works Dept (PWD) and about to be funded by the European Commission under its environmental budget line.

  • The dissemination of Decentralised Cost-effective Wastewater Treatment Systems (DEWATS), both in India and China, in collaboration with BORDA, a German NGO, and with support from the European Commission.

  • The Youth and Education project, recently sanctioned by the European Commission, for setting up vocational training centres in Auroville for the local youth, constructing an educational facility for young workers employed in Auroville, and introducing innovative teaching methods in rural education.

Final item on the Ambassadors' morning-long agenda was an interaction with Auroville residents on the subject of 'India, Europe and Human Unity'.

Contact: luigi@auroville.org.in

For detailed information see the special Feb '02 issue of Auroville Outreach Newsletter

Mr. Caillouët visiting Auroville's Future. Aurovilian Luigi gives a brief introduction on the Auroville Master Plan.


Mr. Caillouët delivering the inaugural speech at the Town Hall Annex 1st stone ceremony.


Mr. Caillouët and Mr. Kireet Joshi, Chairman of Auroville Foundation throwing stones into the cement mixer at the construction site.


Mr. Caillouët, European Union Ambassador - Head of Delegation and Mr. Francois Massoulie, 1st Secretary, during the meeting with the representatives of the various EU projects in Auroville.

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