4 Things South Asia Can Learn From Europe’s Biggest Climate Innovation Network

Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community or Climate KIC is Europe’s biggest climate innovation network. It exclusively focuses on education, entrepreneurship, and innovation to make economically viable products or services that will work to mitigate climate change. European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which is the research and development organization for the European Union, created Climate KIC  along with two other Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) in 2010.

Around the same time in 2010, the 16th summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was held in Bhutan with an overarching theme of “Towards a Green and Happy South Asia”. The summit leaders signed a SAARC Convention on Cooperation on Environment to address the prevailing issue of climate change. India even proposed to set up regional climate innovation centres in South Asia to stimulate research and development in sustainable energy technologies.

Seven years have passed since that eventful year. While Climate KIC continued to flourish with empowering the youth by motivating their innovative ideas to tackle climate change, the proposed idea of India to set up regional climate innovation centres remained only an idea. They say an idea can change your life but they forget to tell you that change comes to those who take a sincere initiative. In those seven years, the efforts exerted by the SAARC Nations could hardly bear any fruits in any meaningful way. It’s worth it to take a look what Climate KIC has achieved while our leaders took the indolent way:

Climate KIC worked in four predominant areas of climate innovation. These areas were deemed crucial in achieving a holistic sustainable development both in Europe and the rest of the world.

  • Urban Transitions: As more and more people are moving towards cities, cities have to have the ability to cope with climate risks and impacts. Cities have to identify smart & zero-carbon solutions to flooding, temperature rise, and urban heat islands. Climate KIC works on integrated and systemic innovation, smart and sustainable development along with education, facilitation and capacity building on urban transitions.
  • Sustainable Production Systems: 21% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions come from various industries. In this context, realistic eco-friendly innovation on the sustainable production system is the call of the time. To address this, climate KIC works in the future feedstock, closed-loop approach and linking up and downstream of manufacturing industries.
  •  Decision Metrics and Finance: A lack of bankable green assets is the single biggest problem responsible investors face. Regarding this issue, Climate KIC works with 200+ partners to provide seed funding, lead innovation programmes to inform and educate decision makers.
  • Sustainable Land Use: The demands of growing world population place an extraordinary burden on natural resources, especially when the unplanned land use is a prevalent trend. Climate KIC combines forest management in the bio-economy, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable food chains along with integrated landscape management to address this problem.

To work in these areas, Climate KIC has set up a wide array of events that boost positive climate action, all of them involving the youth. With the overwhelming participation of the youth every year, Climate KIC seems to have found the much sought after “Youth Ki Awaaz” on climate innovation in Europe.

Various Programmes of Climate-KIC

The various flagship projects of Climate-KIC also enjoyed tremendous success. From sustainable city districts to the agricultural booster, the concepts of those projects share a striking similarity with today’s innovative youth’s out-of-the-box mindset. The reason behind this is simple, the youth were involved in these projects.

Flagship Projects of Climate-KIC

The success of Climate-KIC brings into mind the promise of India in 2010 and what would have happened if there were such implementations of innovation centres all over South Asia. Today in Asia, there are more than 1.1 billion youth aged 10 to 24, representing 26 percent of the total Asian population. Among them, India has the world’s highest number of 10-to-24 year-olds at 356 million, China follows with 269 million, Indonesia with 67 million, Pakistan with 59 million, and Bangladesh with 48 million. Interestingly, 3 countries out of the top five are from South Asia.

One can only wonder what would have happened if South Asia could harness the power of its youth to drive eco-friendly innovations in the mitigation of climate change.

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